An Cosán shortlisted in Charity Excellence Awards

Heydi Foster CEO An Cosán

An Cosán CEO Heydi Foster has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Charity Leadership category of Charities Institute Ireland’s Charity Excellence Awards 2023. This recognition highlights Ms Foster’s leadership as CEO of An Cosán, Ireland’s largest community education organisation, which is based in Jobstown, Tallaght. This is the most prestigious leadership award in the charitable sector. An Cosán’s shortlisting recognises that since taking up the CEO role in 2019 Ms Foster has established An Cosán as an organisation of national importance, influencing policy and government practice, while cementing its place within the heart of the communities it serves. During her tenure, the quality and breadth of An Cosán’s services has been expanded, with the organisation’s leadership in digital inclusion widely noted, while also securing a firm organisational and financially sustainable footing.

On hearing the news of her shortlisting, Ms Foster said: “I am honoured to be shortlisted by Charities Institute Ireland for their Excellence in Charity Leadership Award. It has been my privilege to work with and grow our outstanding team to build on the incredible vision of An Cosán. “Today we are positively impacting the lives of adult learners, families and communities across Ireland and providing an example to policy-makers and educators here and internationally of what community education can achieve,” Ms Foster continued. “It’s a thrill to have this spotlight shone on the work we are doing! “We are grateful to our funders, partners and supporters for enabling us to continue our work empowering women, families and communities. Working together, we will achieve a more just and fair society, and a better and brighter future.”

An Cosán’s achievements during 2022 included:

  • New Strategy (Vision 2026: Transforming Lives Together) – with an inclusive engagement process with board, entire staff of 151 and stakeholders
  • Ireland’s first Digital Inclusion Team as leaders in the community sector responding to Government’s Adult Literacy for Life Strategy to raise basic digital literacy levels from 50% to 80% of the population
  • Rapid response to arrivals from Ukraine through providing refugees in Tallaght West with English classes, learning supports and cultural integration events
  • In-depth independent review of adult education provision leading to increased enrolments in September 2022 and renewed focus on access level education to serve community needs
  • Achievement of Quality Qualifications Ireland (QQI) re-validation of An Cosán education and training programmes, leading the way in the community education sector.

Further achievements are outlined in An Cosán’s 2022 Annual Report, ‘Creating Brighter Futures in Communities Across Ireland’, which is available on 

Pictured: Heydi Foster, CEO of An Cosán, who has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Charity Leadership category of Charities Institute Ireland’s Charity Excellence Awards 2023

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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