independent

Friday 24 May 2019

FAB centre fears for future

Coolcotts facility has not had a manager since 2011 and is 'running on a shoestring'

Staff outside FAB in Coolcotts
Staff outside FAB in Coolcotts

Simon Bourke

A family centre which provides a number of valuable services to members of its local community is in danger of closure unless it receives funds to appoint a new manager.

FAB Community and Family Resource Centre is located in Ferndale in the Coolcotts area of Wexford Town and runs a variety of programmes for those living in the surrounding areas. However, the centre has been operating without a manager since having its finances cut in 2011.

'We're virtually running on a shoestring,' said Brenda Byrne who is a member of FAB's voluntary board of management. 'We need a manager, someone to source funding, if we had someone doing that we could get a lot more in.'

At the moment the day-to-day running of the centre, including its daily childcare service, outreach programmes and community groups, is the responsibility of the board members, a job which they themselves admit they are aren't qualified to fulfil.

'Having a manager would ensure there's someone there making sure we're adhering to all the legal requirements and that all the finances are in order,' continues Brenda, 'Only for the staff pitching in and doing bits they're not supposed to we wouldn't have kept going. But it's getting tougher and tougher because of costs and paperwork, we're struggling, we're getting to that stage, you'd hate to see it...' she says, trailing off.

Brenda and her fellow board members have twice tried to apply for funding required to appoint a new manager, but to no avail.

'They tell us to keep tyrying and we keep trying, we put in for this, we put in for that. We weren't eligible, everything that comes with trying to get a manager we've done - and spent money trying to get it. It's a waste of a lot of resources, when you know you're not getting it.'

According to Peter Culleton, Youth Justice Worker at FAB, part of the issue is that the centre hasn't yet been recognised as an official Family Resource Centre (FRC).

'There was an application put in to Tulsa for proper FRC status, and appropriate funding for a manager. We need someone to coordinate everything which, with the best will in the world, just isn't happening at the moment. It's only hard work by a voluntary board of management which is keeping the place together.'

In addition to its board, there are 12 Community Education workers at FAB as well as several full-time workers, all of whom are effectively employed by the board of management.

'We have so many staff, there's contracts, data protection, different policies coming in, governance,' says Kay Stafford, Childcare Coordinator at FAB. 'There's a lot of administration work where a manager could step in. Everyone has their own work to do and they're trying to juggle everything else on top of it.'

However, not all hope is lost, as the board confirmed that their recent application to Tusla is 'not dead in the water.'

Wexford People

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