Save our Resource Centres

Moville Family Resource Centre's Mary McKinney, Rosaleen Smith, Sean Diver and Michael McDermott pictured at the Lobbying Day in St. Johnston on Friday.

Moville Family Resource Centre's Mary McKinney, Rosaleen Smith, Sean Diver and Michael McDermott pictured at the Lobbying Day in St. Johnston on Friday.

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Moville’s Family Resource centre helps people throughout Inishowen and gives people an opportunity to try new things according to one of its young members.

Speaking at the Lobbying Day for the nine Family Resource Centres across Donegal, Moville’s 19-year-old Sean Diver told the listening crowd, which was made up of officials, politicians and members of the public, how the FRC [Family Resource Centre] has helped him.

Pictured in  St. Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre on Friday were seated l-r; Rebecca Evans, The Forge Family Resource Centre, Downings, Anne Roulston,  Mary Crossan (co ordinator) and Charle O'Kane all from St. Johnston & Carrigans Family Resource Centre. Back row l-r; Meave McGarvey, Community Education Officer, Donegal VEC.,  Pearse Doherty T.D., Michael Classon, Secretary of Downstrands Family Resource Centre, Ardara, Glenties and Portnoo, Thomas Pringle TD. and Sean Diver, Moville Family Resource Centre.  Photo Thomas Gallagher 0805TG102

Pictured in St. Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre on Friday were seated l-r; Rebecca Evans, The Forge Family Resource Centre, Downings, Anne Roulston, Mary Crossan (co ordinator) and Charle O'Kane all from St. Johnston & Carrigans Family Resource Centre. Back row l-r; Meave McGarvey, Community Education Officer, Donegal VEC., Pearse Doherty T.D., Michael Classon, Secretary of Downstrands Family Resource Centre, Ardara, Glenties and Portnoo, Thomas Pringle TD. and Sean Diver, Moville Family Resource Centre. Photo Thomas Gallagher 0805TG102

The centres are facing a budget cut of 15 percent over three years, in increments of 5 percent a year.

However the young Moville man told the crowd that should the cuts go ahead it would cause “devastation” in his area.

“I live in a small, quiet town where there are a lot of places closing down and with the economy the way it is there are less jobs in the area.

“But the FRC has helped so many young people in the town get the skills they need to be able to get work. And not just through work, the centre has helped people through the community garden project, the cookery classes the counselling services and the men’s and women’s groups.”

On a personal level, Sean said the centre has helped him build up and improve his confidence.

“Since I became involved with the Resource Centre two years ago, it has helped me leaps and bounds. I have done coaching courses, child protection course and youth monitoring. With their help I got accepted on the Wider Horizons programme which allowed me to travel to Canada and get involved in work and experience new things.

“I’d ask everyone here to support the Resource Centres in Donegal and not impose anymore cuts.”

Similarly Charlie O’Kane of Raphoe paid tribute to the Raphoe Family Resource Centre and their cross-border Speaking Up and Reaching Out group. Charlie, who has Parkinson’s Disease, said the centre has been important to him and his wife and their four daughters, three of whom have intellectual disabilities.

“They regularly attend support programmes and activities at the centre,” he said. “This has been a huge benefit to both my wife and me, knowing that they are in a safe environment and being treated with dignity and respect, and being encouraged to learn essential life skills.

He added: “Family resource centres are not a luxury. They are an essential for the whole community. They are the glue which holds our community together”.

Ann Roulston said the Speaking Up group has given members the confidence and self-belief to speak up for themselves and others.

“I didn’t take money from a bank or take out a loan I can’t pay back, so why should I and other people be punished for the mistakes of others?” Ann said. “Let the people responsible for this mess have things taken away, not innocent people like me and people who need the Family Resource Centre.”

Following the lobbying day, representatives from the nine FRCs met with Frances Fitzgerald, TD, Minister for Children and Youth, to urge the minister to spare the centres from projected budget cuts of 15 percent over the next three years.

“It was great to have the opportunity to meet with her and put forward our concerns,” said Mary Crossan, co-ordinator of the St. Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre (FRC), calling the meeting a positive one. “You did get the sense that she had valued the input from the family resource centres.”

Ms. Crossan said she believed that in the long-term, “there is a commitment to the overall family resource centre programme, and she recognises the value of that.”