Athlone Family Resource Centre calls for full Budget 2024 support to help realise true potential

Athlone Family Resource centre chairman Padraig Hegarty has called on all local elected representatives to use whatever influence and lobbying abilities they possess and back the proposal put forward by the Family Resource Centre (FRC) National Forum.

Athlone Family Resource centre chairman Padraig Hegarty has called on all local elected representatives to use whatever influence and lobbying abilities they possess and back the proposal put forward by the Family Resource Centre (FRC) National Forum.

Athlone Family Resource centre chairman Padraig Hegarty has called on all local elected representatives to use whatever influence and lobbying abilities they possess and back the proposal put forward by the Family Resource Centre (FRC ) National Forum.

“There is an urgent need for political collaboration on this issue, regardless of party alignment, as the work that is conducted by our own FRC and of FRCs across Ireland is of crucial importance to communities and individuals,” Mr Hegarty stated.

The National Forum of the Family Resource Centres has put forward their submission for Budget 2024 seeking an optimum core funding of €220,000 for all 121 Family Resource Centres to provide a core operating model; sustain quality supports; enable pay parity and leverage response to emerging needs.

“The Athlone Family Resource Centre is going above and beyond at this time. The staff all complete the often insurmountable daily to ensure they respond to the needs of as many individuals and families as they possibly can. However, that is simply not always possible when you are underfunded as an organisation. Vital service(s ) need to have a sustainable funding model to be able to provide early access to mental health, counselling and a range of therapeutic and family support interventions to children and their families,” Mr Hegarty added.

Athlone FRC lead co-ordinator, Delores Crerar, stated that the daily struggle for local families post pandemic is “real”.

“We are seeing families really struggle, much in part owing to the aftermath of the pandemic and the rising cost of living and energy. We see children and families who need access go early intervention but are waiting too long for access to a service. When we do not, or simply cannot help families early in their moment of need it is predominantly because of a lack of sustainable funding. This is an avoidable failing that will continue to cause generational problems for the most vulnerable in our society. It is a legacy social policy approach that needs to be addressed with urgency. In essence, early and effective intervention, prevention and partnership working is crucial,” Ms Crerar remarked.

The chairman referenced Athlone FRC’s expansion in recent years despite any increase in core operational budget.

“We have had to become innovative and seek opportunities for strategic partnership working to address employment gaps in our team. Earlier this year we were partnered with Athlone Community Services to develop a Community Employment position for a cleaner. It is hoped that this working relationship will help us to develop future environmental/maintenance positions during 2024.

“If the proposals put forward by the Family Resource Centre National Forum are honoured by Government, we can make real change and real inroads to supporting those most in need. But we need buy-in and support not only from our local community, but also from our local political representatives at all levels of Government,” the chairman concluded.

 

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