BUDGET SLASH

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Inishowen’s only Family Resource Centre will have its budget slashed in the coming months, the ‘Journal’ has learned.

Moville’s Resource Centre will now see their vital funding cut 5% over the next three years despite having their monies frozen for the last four years.

The Resource Centre currently provides vital counselling services, youth and women’s groups, community gardens project and tutoring classes from their premises in Moville.

However should the cuts go ahead, the centre could see some of these services go in a bid to keep their doors open.

Mary McKinney, co-ordinator in the Moville centre, says they are “dispirited” by the news of the pending cuts.

“When you hear news items on TV about barristers on tribunals getting so many millions of euro, I get really angry. It just makes no common sense. I think the centre represents good value for money.

“We already have had our core funding, which covers salaries and expenses like rent, telephone, and electricity frozen for 4 years so we have had to find the money to pay for increases to all our services. We find now we are putting all our energies into keeping the doors open and trying to pay the electricity bills.”

An important part of the Resource Centre’s funding is the contribution towards the counselling service - which has increased in demand more than 300% in the past two years.

“We have had a lot more referrals from GPs and the Mental Health association to see our counsellors recently,” explained Mary. “But we haven’t had any extra funding. Some people can afford to pay towards the service but many others cannot. Nowadays given the poor economic climate the demand for counselling has risen sharply. “People are desperate for help and they are not coping with all the pressures of unemployment and financial difficulties, but the counselling service we have been able to offer is itself in dire straits.”

The Moville woman says they have only been able to maintain counselling through help with grants from the National Lottery and Electric Ireland but now, they are running the service on a “shoestring”.

Despite the most recent setbacks, the committee, volunteers and staff at the Resource Centre are determined to keep going.

“We’re not going to give up yet, we just have to keep going and make every penny count like we always do.”

The Centre will be taking part in a Lobbying Day in St. Johnston Resource Centre on Friday May 4 at 11am where they will appeal to all relevant politicians for support to get the cuts reversed.”