HISTORY OF THE FAMILY RESOURCE CENTRE
- South West Wexford Community Development Group (SWWCDG) trading as SWWFRC was established in 1989 by members of the local community, who recognised the need to tackle the problems of unemployment, exclusion and disadvantage in the South West Wexford (‘Hook’) area.
- SWWFRC is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status managed by a voluntary management committee of Directors who are supported by a full and part time staff complement of over 35 full, part time and contract staff along with 5 TUS participants in 2016.
- Since 1996 SWWCDG is based in The Ramsgrange Centre Ramsgrange which is owned and managed by The Ramsgrange Trust. The Ramsgrange Trust is a partnership of members of the board of South West Wexford Community Development project (SWWCDP) and members of the board of South Inner City Community Development Association (SICCDA) based at The Liberties in Dublin.
- The catchment area for project activities is in the seven parishes of Ramsgrange, Duncannon, Tintern, Horeswood, Clongeen, Carrig-on-Bannow, Templetown. These seven parishes roughly fall within the following District Electoral Divisions; Rathroe, Templetown, Tintern, Ballyhack, Fethard, Killesk, Dunmain, Clongeen, and Bannow.
- Funded Programmes at SWWFRC in 2016/2017 include the following:
- TUSLA Family Resource Centre Programme
- TUSLA Glor Project
- Early Childcare Care and Education Scheme ( ECCE)
- Childcare Subvention Scheme (CSS)
- Community Employment Scheme (CE)
- TUS Programme
Currently we address the needs of local families and support them to access childcare facilities and supports, community based youth work, provision of facilities and services for young people, local community services, counselling, sign-posting for information and delivery of education and training services locally and affordably in their own community @ The Ramsgrange Centre. We involve local people in the decision making processes around these services and have done this through two and a half decades of relationship building, and tangible partnerships with the community and voluntary and statutory agencies at local, regional and national level.
We have always looked at these services from a family support perspective and we are cognisant of both the levels of need of rural families and the interagency approach necessary to meet these needs. We are also open to examining our work using other models of family support and moving towards them more explicitly to meet local needs.
Family support services to date at the Centre have been evolving in response to our changing rural community needs as well as reflection on our experience and analysis of our strengths and challenges. We are as a result moving towards delivery of more cost-effective service to our target groups that are challenging for some of our traditional service provision. Now working with TUSLA under the FRC Prgramme and the Glor project we are further already committed to collaborate in our approach to family support service provision using the Meitheal approach and are open to any and all staff training under the new programme in this regard.
Our work to date has yielded many positive results for local people with special focus on the needs of local unemployed people, one parent families, older people and rural youth. Over the course of the next three years we plan to continue and develop our work with families and aim to expand services with additional actions that will complement prioritised elements of our local family support strategy over the next three years.
We strongly believe in our ability to continue to harness and develop local support to address local issues. We want to continue to work to do this without losing the local autonomy to make local relevant decisions. Our participation in the FRC programme has shown us and our community that even centralised policies and programmes can accommodate to local situations to support them to retain the unique features that make their proven ways of working successful. Our knowledge in action through the hands on approach of local governance can now still remain accountable and transparent with the FRC supports. Enabling and supporting established community development is in line with best practice for community and economic development and the sustainability of a strong and vibrant community here in SWW.
It is essential that The Ramsgrange Centre remains a core resource for this community and maintains a core budget, management structure, monitoring system and adequate policy and practice in governance to stay accountable and transparent to the public for all programmatic funding and activities the company may leverage on behalf of the community. This way the Centre can continue to offer a basic safety net for rural families in these difficult times.