St Munchins Community Centre delivers meals to those in need. Linda Ledger pictured above working hard in the kitchen at St Munchins with chef Christy O’Brien. Picture: Leon Ledger

St Munchins Community Centre delivers over 85,000 meals during pandemic

St Munchins Community Centre delivers

The meals are delivered straight to your door by the friendly drivers who volunteer with the centre. Picture: Leon Ledger


Over the course of the pandemic, St Munchin’s Community Centre on the northside of Limerick city delivered more than 85,000 meals across Limerick city and county.


St Munchin’s Community Centre provided a hot daily meal to 85,159 people over the age of 55 across Limerick from February 14 to September 25. Over the same period, 2,590 food parcels were delivered to children in need, with the service extending throughout the city and county.


In order to do the Meals on Wheels initiative, the facility at Kileely Court relied on the kindness of volunteers, including several metropolitan district councillors.


St Munchin’s Community Centre has played an active role in promoting and developing the community since its establishment in 2005. St Munchin’s delivers about 2,706 Meals on Wheels during in a week to people who need help from the community during this trying time.


On top of all the other work that the Community Centre does, St Munchin’s manager, Linda Ledger, revealed that during the pandemic they also delivered bread, milk, toilet roll, and anything else senior citizens needed that were being forced to cocoon during the lockdown.


The kitchens at the community centre are staffed by qualified chefs who cook and prepare each meal. The food is made fresh daily, with a different main course Monday to Saturday along with dessert. Each lunch costs €4.50 and dessert is an additional 50 cents, which is delivered straight to your door by the friendly drivers who volunteer with the centre.


Now, with many people fearful of a second wave and a second lockdown, it is imperative that the St Munchin’s Community Centre be able to continue its work with the community of Limerick.


Linda Ledger, the manager of St Munchins, said, “I’m under severe pressure at the moment because every day there are new people ringing and looking for meals, the last thing we ever want to do is not be able to feed someone. We have families ringing from all over telling us they can’t go see their elderly relatives as they don’t know if they are sick or not, so we are kind of a lifeline to these people too. No matter what happens we have to stay open to be able to help these people.”


“I know we are making a huge difference because the amount of people who are isolated and need our service is increasing all the time. But we need assistance to help feed Limerick and our surrounding areas, every little goes a long way and we thank you for your continuous support throughout these hard times. It is through donations and communities working together that we will get through this difficult time.”


To donate to the Meals on wheels initiative, click HERE


To learn more about the St Munchin’s Community Center, click HERE

For more News go HERE 

St Munchins Community Centre Manager, Linda Ledger, is known for her kindness and incredible work ethic. Picture: Leon Ledger

A tribute to 15 years of St Munchins Community Centre 

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Mary Doyle

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the establishment of St Munchins Community Centre, located in Kileely, Co. Limerick. This state-of-the-art community centre has had an active role in promoting community involvement and development in Limerick since opening in 2005, and has grown and expanded greatly over the last fifteen years as a result of the demand for its range of excellent facilities. St Munchins Community Centre is a hub of community activity, from age-friendly groups, education and dance classes, to their flower shop, beauticians and Meals on Wheels service, to name only a few.

Covid-19 unfortunately had a huge effect on the normal running of the centre over the past few months, with restrictions forcing its closure to the public, and a lack of funding posing a threat to the continuation of their services. But with the determination of Linda Ledger, Manager of St Munchins, and the support of its workers, volunteers and donations from the public, the centre is still thriving, helping hundreds of people every day, in spite of the complications posed by Covid-19.

Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick said, “I have volunteered my publicity services to the centre for over a decade and have loved every single minute. One of my favourite memories was in November 2015 when the centre celebrated its tenth anniversary with special guests JP and Noreen McManus and daughter Sue-Ann Foley as they turned the sod on the new day-care facility that was built on the grounds. Another incredible memory was the visit of President Michael D. Higgins in 2011. In recent times Linda and her crew have done stellar work with their Meals on Wheels service during the Covid19 pandemic. I am incredibly proud of centre manager Linda Ledger, her team and of everyone who has contributed to the success of the centre.”

We spoke to Linda Ledger, Manager of St Munchins Community Centre, about the last fifteen years, from the history of the centre and its development over the years, to its importance in the community and their plans for the future, along with everything in between.

Linda, could you share a bit about your background and where your passion for community and volunteering came from?

The community has always been a part of my life, it’s where I was born and bred and it’s where I continue to raise my family. I was working in Dunnes Stores for many years until I had a severe car crash which stopped me from being able to work. I then moved on to the National Learning Network which gave me the skills and confidence to put myself out there again, so I started in St. Munchins Community Enterprise Centre as a volunteer and after a few years applied for the manager’s role.

I really want to make a difference, I’m trying to implement services here that are at an affordable cost, so nothing is for free but everything is at a low-cost no-cost. So anything here is about holistically, how would I like to improve my own life and what I could bring to it.

St Munchins Community Centre

In November 2015, pictured at St Munchins 10th Anniversary celebrations – Richard with Kevin O Reilly, Denise Mulcahy, Catherine Troy, Kieran O Neill, Chairperson St Munchins Community Centre, JP McManus, Sue Anne Foley, Noreen McManus and Linda Ledger, Manager St Munchins Community Centre. Picture: Jonathan Baynes/ilovelimerick.

Why was St Munchins Community Centre set up and how?

Years ago there were two handball allies here that were let go into disrepair. So between the Resident Association at the time, the chairperson Jim O’Neill, and the council, it was decided that we’d get a community centre as it was our land. At the back, there are ten affordable houses which helped with the money towards building here, and then as you drive in, there’s six family homes, two disability homes and ten sheltered accommodation for the elderly. The community centre is in the middle of all of that.

So it was really set up at the time to try and bring all the services together. It wasn’t the size that it is now, so at the time, in the beginning, we just got the money from the council and from the affordable houses. I was around at this time then but I was only a volunteer on the working committee.

How did you become the manager? 

At the time I was a volunteer and after my car crash in 1997 I was actually 40% disabled, and now I’m 30% disabled. I physically don’t look it, but I feel it. My life changed after the car crash, and I’m still a very strong advocate for the National Learning Network because it is where people have a chance to rehabilitate themselves no matter what is wrong with them. That’s what brought me here. I was volunteering here when there was a job open for a twenty-hour manager. At the time I wasn’t in the best head-space, you wouldn’t be believing that you could do something like that, but everyone encouraged me to go for it, so I went for it and luckily I got it.

How is the centre funded and how can people help its future success?

We get about €60,000 to €90,000 from the council and that sounds like a lot of money but when you look at the running of the centre, that wouldn’t even cover your light, heat or anything. We are getting €25,000 from the HSE. But so far during the pandemic we’ve had to spend €119,000 alone on food, that’s not including packaging or wages. Meals on Wheels has always rendered a lot, we have two fully qualified chefs and it is top class restaurant food, there are no shortcuts. We’ve got four vans and a bus on the road, and at the minute now we also have two electric cars that were donated from Smithstown Light Engineering Shannon, and we have the Red Cross with ambulances because we have so much on the go at the minute.

There’s a big misconception, if you look at our office accounts, you’ll see that it’s over €1 million coming into us, but we are only a third party and we have to hand it out. So our turnover last year was over half a million but that’s money we use, with wages and everything, there’s never any of that left. What people mightn’t understand is that everything we do with all the businesses is that they are social enterprises there to try and create employment for local people and people that need jobs. Social enterprise means that all the money you make goes straight back into the community.

How has JP McManus contributed to the centre?

You couldn’t say enough about the man, he’s incredible. It’s so much more than funding, he’s there for us, he’s a brain to pick on. What I love about his foundation is that it’s very open and transparent, he doesn’t just give out money to the person who writes the best application. They go out and investigate it and they look at it and follow up with you all the time to see what you’re doing. He’s just fantastic. JP has always helped us when we’ve tried to extend, and when our backs are against the wall. Like when we wanted one of the new vans, the government wouldn’t give us the grant unless we had philanthropy backing. Even though we had the money ourselves, they need to see it coming in from a philanthropist. Just to know JP is always backing us all the time is amazing.


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St. Munchin’s Community Centre, Meals on Wheels, Limerick – we featured on RTE News at 1pm today. Our service is for anyone over the age of 55, we deliver to Limerick & surrounding areas. We operate 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday. Dinner & Dessert cost €5. All of our drivers are Garda vetted, friendly and will practice social distancing to keep everyone safe. Please contact us on (061) 596 011/ (061) 458 651 to order your dinner before 11am for same day delivery. If you see our van around your area and you are interested in our service give us a call. We’d be more than happy to explain our service to you for you or a loved one. We are a social enterprise, but we depend on our enterprises in the centre as income to keep our doors open. We’ve had to close the doors on our Hair & Beauty Salon, our community café, our florist etc, which had a massive effect on income. Currently we are struggling financially but we would hate to close our doors as we understand the need for our service. If you would like to donate, please use this link We all need to look out for one another in these hard times. Please stay inside & stay safe. Thank you to all of those who have supported us & kept us going during these hard time. We’d love to keep going, so please help us in doing so. We are still accepting donations if any businesses have anything to donate also.

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Did you think fifteen years ago that the centre would grow so much, expanding into all these different areas and offering so many services?

I didn’t. It organically grew and I suppose at the time, when we did our first extension, JP Macmanus had said that the centre really should be bigger and it should be in a greenfield area, and really not to be just building on here that it was too small. And at the time I was thinking ‘No, sure we’re great as we are’. But now looking at it, he was right. It grew and expanded so much because it’s what the people we wanted, we never drove it. We always listened to the people and it organically grew. Now we have so much, from education with the VEC, care for the older person, as well as hair, beauty, the flower shop, a photography studio, youth clubs, dancing, bingo, age-friendly, older-people clubs, chiropody, Meals on Wheels, sit-down lunches, board rooms for rent, classes, walking clubs – we have a bit of everything.

What does the centre mean to the people in the community in terms of employment and support?

We now have 162 people employed. 26 of those are directly employed and the rest are on community employment schemes, jobs initiatives, and are part of the National Learning Network. We actually have people working all over the city, we have 16 different locations. So we work closely with the Department of Social Protection, as well as the City Council and the LCETB.

I love our track record for progression. The thing about community employment schemes is that people think okay you’re only getting an extra twenty euros a week. You can look at it that way or you can look at it from the perspective of you’re getting the chance to re-educate yourself, to see can you get a job that you want, and for whatever reason that you didn’t have a job before, you can now experience the clock-card system of turning up for work, and the training to get you into another job. So you can look at it with the glass half full and say sure what would I be doing that for, whereas the people who come in are yes, only getting 20 euros more, but they’re also getting all the training, and the rehabilitation that they need to get them into a better job, so it’s up to you. You can come in and the world is your oyster, you work with the scheme in that you have every opportunity.

St Munchins Community Centre

Richard Lynch pictured at the centre in December 2011 with President Michael D. Higgins, Brenda Gardiner and Linda Ledger. Picture: Dolf Patijn/ilovelimerick

What do you think has made the centre so successful that it continues to grow each year and help so many people?

I think why it’s so successful is that we have a real bottom-up approach, the centre is run by the community for the community. And I think for everything, Richard (Lynch) is our PR and he started us off and got us known in Limerick, I think he even let us know about JP. The advice I would give to any new community centres would be to come and look at our mistakes and learn from them, and look at the model we have now. It’s a very good model with a very bottom-up approach and there’s a way of making it work. You have to include the community, I always believe that you’ve got to bring the community with you.

What inspires you to keep up your amazing work after fifteen years, and what is the most rewarding part of what you do?

I’m forever fighting for the centre, and now with the pandemic, I made sure to argue out my point that we would get the money from somewhere to keep going. I want to just make a difference for children in the position that myself and my own kids were in. I’m very passionate about what I do and it confuses a lot of people because sometimes they can’t understand me, it can be hard for people to keep up with me.

I love what I do. Every day is different, I just think it’s the constant learning. You can think you know everything but you never know everything. I like to think I know everything but I still learn and I’ve realised that I’m never going to know everything. Watching someone come in who is either on probation, or on a scheme, or with literacy issues, or an older person not knowing how to use a computer, whatever it may be. And all of a sudden there’s somewhere where they can go to learn, and then they can then do it.

I think the most rewarding part of it is when you see that you can keep an older person out of hospital, or when you can see the little things like thank you cards, and realising the things we may take for granted like doing their dinners, what that means to them is so much more, it might be the only phone call or visit they get that day, some of their families might live away and its security for them. When we thought we had to close down at the beginning of the pandemic, the amount of people who tried to help, the money that was donated to us, that blew us away. It’s the people of Limerick and Ireland that kept us open, and that keeps me going.

What do St Munchins and its employees, volunteers and visitors mean to you?

I get on brilliantly with them all, the employees and volunteers are the best in the world, but I know that when I walk into the room, there’s silence. They talk to me but I can never be one of the team because I’m the manager, and it’s just something I’ve had to learn to live with now. Everyone knows they can come to me with anything, I’m very fair, but they say I’m like marmite, that people will either love me or hate me. I’m a good boss but I’m straight out, just be upfront with me. It can be lonely at times because there are so many people here and when you’d hear them all laughing and joking, people coming in and out, it can be different when you are the one at the top. Like with the pandemic, people would visit and they’d only want me in the pictures because I’m the manager, but I see all the keyboard warriors saying I do nothing and only want to be in the pictures when I actually hate pictures. You can’t please everyone.

It doesn’t feel like fifteen years, and when I go in somewhere like King John’s Castle and see a girl in there that used to work here, seeing her now doing her thing having her own job – I love that. To know you made a little difference then. All it is is opening the door to somebody.

In the last fifteen years what are the highlights and best memories for you?

I actually can never remember anything, so I look back at the videos that Richard made on the I Love Limerick Youtube, I love looking back and seeing all the people and milestones, having the Taoiseach visit us. Looking back at the kids dancing, knowing they’re grown up and some of them are now working here teaching dancing. It’s amazing to watch.

How important was it to you to continue some of your services as much as you could during Covid-19?

It was brilliant. We are helping so many people, we’re gone across the whole city helping so many groups. It was amazing to be able to keep going, and when the donations started to come in we were just blown away, to know that people really appreciated it and everyone wanted to be a part of something that was helping other people.

What is next for St Munchins Community Centre, are you excited to welcome back your regular visitors when it is safe to do so?

We had a beautiful day recently when we got to go out and see all the elderly people when they were allowed to travel so far, and they loved it. I’d love to see them back but I’m dreading it at the same time because with our rooms now we’ll only be allowed to sit down a very small number of people together, and there’ll have to be time limits, so it’s scary to think about reopening because it’s not going to be what it was, for a while anyway. So we have to make sure that we make it as good as we can for our visitors. We’ll make a good go at it anyway, we’ll figure something out.

From Richard and the whole I Love Limerick Team, we want to congratulate Linda and everyone at St Munchins Community Centre on fifteen years of amazing work. Long may it continue.

To donate to St Munchins Community Centre, click here.

For more information on St Munchins Community Centre, click here.

For more Richard Knows News, click HERE.

PHOTOS & VIDEO Keith Duffy visits St Munchins Community Centre

Keith Duffy visits St Munchins Community Centre – Richard with Marie Galligan Stokes and her son Adam, Santa, Keith Duffy and Linda Ledger, Manager St. Munchin’s Community Centre at the launch of the St Munchins Community Centre Children with Autism Santa Grotto 2015 in honour of the Keith Duffy Foundation. Picture: Leon Ledger.

Keith Duffy visits St Munchins Community Centre as part of his work with The Keith Duffy Foundation. The community centre is holding a Children with Autism Christmas Grotto 2015 with Santa Claus himself meeting and greeting children.

Keith, who is appearing in this year’s UCH Pantomime Sleeping Beauty until January 3 will be visiting the centre from 5pm alongside myself and fellow panto co-stars George McMahon and Leanne Moore.

Speaking at the launch of the event, the Boyzone star expressed his excitement to be helping out on the day, “I was in Limerick all last Christmas and I’m back again this Christmas. It’s important for me to make sure that people realise that I’m supporting whatever they’re doing involving autism and to get an opportunity to go meet all the kids and say hello is great.”

Manager of St Munchin’s Community Centre, Linda Ledger, decided to organise the Christmas grotto with her sister Marie for two very simple reasons, “my nephew Adam was diagnosed with Autism and we didn’t realise that there was no Santa in Limerick for children with autism”.

Marie Gilligan Stokes, whose son Adam (4) was diagnosed with autism is actively involved in collecting unused mobile phones as part of an Irish Autism Action appeal. The appeal grants iPads to children with autism to help with communication.

When Marie first began the appeal she never expected the kind generosity that she received, “A gentleman from America who heard of our appeal sent over a cheque anonymously to pay for the iPad. Before we knew it within 13 days we had nearly 800 odd phones so we had enough to get two more iPads. We got one for Adam and donated the other two to local intervention centres in Limerick. The phones just kept coming so as long as they keep coming we’ll keep donating them. So far now we’ve donated 5 iPads.” Unused mobile phones can be dropped into the collection point at St Munchin’s Community Centre.

The Keith Duffy Foundation is working to raise funds for a number of children’s charities throughout Ireland and charities in Limerick will not be forgotten. Keith tells me,  “I’m going to come back next year to hopefully be involved in a black tie fundraising ball and I want to find out what’s going and in Limerick and find out how I can help.”

While the Christmas grotto is being held specifically for children with autism, St. Munchin’s Community Centre would like to welcome everyone to come and meet Keith from 5pm.

To find out about Keith’s Foundation visit
You can also read more about St Munchins Community Centre right here!

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Photos by Jonathan Baynes for I Love Limerick. All rights reserved.

St Munchins Community Centre 10 year anniversary

Pictured at St Munchins Community Centre 10 year Anniversary celebrations – Richard with Kevin O Reilly, Denise Mulcahy, Catherine Troy, Kieran O Neill, Chairperson St Munchins Community Centre, JP Mc Manus, Sue Anne Foley, Noreen McManus and Linda Ledger, Manager St Munchins Community Centre. Picture: Jonathan Baynes/ilovelimerick.

Spirits were high this week at the St Munchins Community Centre 10 year anniversary celebrations, after a decade of community enhancement and development, with special guests in attendance.

 JP and Noreen McManus attended the celebrations with daughter Sue-Ann Foley, in a show of support for the centre, and to turn the sod on the new day-care facility that will be built on the grounds.

After being presented with a number of gifts, in a show of gratitude for the help of the JP McManus Benevolent Fund, Sue-Ann Foley spoke to the crowds, encouraging the people who avail of the services offered to be “grateful” that they have people to speak for them, because “not every community has it. “We get plenty of applications in for centres such as this, and we try and help as many people as we can. It’s very easy to help St Munchin’s.

“My parents are very proud Limerick people.. And this centre shows what Limerick is about and the proper community spirit,” Sue-Ann said. Linda Ledger, St Munchin’s Centre Manager, thanked the McManus family for their continued support over the past decade. “None of this could have been done without JP McManus, he’s been our backbone. All our dreams have really just come true, and they’re even better than we thought.”

The centre continues to expand, taking over the grounds of the former St Lelia’s National School, which was one of three schools amalgamated into Thomond Primary, earlier this year. Thomond Primary is one of the many beneficiaries of the wide range of services that St Munchin’s offer to the community, with one of their newest ventures being the community café at the school, an extension of the café in the centre. Backed by social enterprise, six of the centre’s staff serve food to more than 250 students, giving them the chance to socialise with fellow students in the morning, over a healthy breakfast.

Linda Ledger spoke about the community café initiative, and its success so far. “There are some things like that, that we do, that you can’t put value on. There’s no glossy document, you just have to see it. And when you see something like that, it’s really wonderful,” she said. The new facility at the former St Lelia’s will be an “educational outreach” for everyone, young and old.

Paul Patton, Head of Further Education and Training, Limerick and Clare ETB, officially announced the major award in Healthcare Support that will be available in the new facility. Speaking about promoting education in the community, Mr Patton said: ““The whole idea is, as a social enterprise, is to work within the neighbourhood, and further afield.” This award covers modules, such as; Care Skills, Care of the Older Person, Care Support, Palilative Care Support, Infection Prevention Control, naming just a few. “We’re going to look at education in a completely different light.. We are tackling education, our way,” Linda said.

Visit the St Munchins’ Community Centre website here

Check out the St Munchin’s Community Centre Facebook page here and Twitter here

Read more about St Munchin’s here