A Brief History of the Breffni Family resource Centre.
Breffni Community Development Company Ltd. is a community development initiative, which has stemmed from the Townspark Residents Association. The Residents Association was initially formed in 1991 by a group of community enthusiasts residing in the St. Patrick's Park and Breffni Crescent areas of Carrick-on-Shannon. The Residents Association and subsequently Breffni Community Development Company Ltd. aim to provide a range of services and resources that empower local people to address the social and economic needs identified within their community.
With a population of approx 400, a large percentage of who were children, the Townspark Residents Association felt that it was vital to develop community facilities to incorporate the needs of all community members, with particular focus on the youth of the area. With this in mind, the Residents Association purchased a porta-cabin from where they laid the foundations of the community project and thus began to serve and empower the community. From here the Residents Association endeavoured to organise a number of child centred activities. The After-School facility was run on a renovated bus each weekday for 2 hours. Employing two Childcare workers, the After-School project was a valued service for families in the area.
In addition to these activities the residents group developed and ran a Summer Youth Project, which involved up to forty children. This annual project was supervised by local residents on a voluntary capacity, and indeed, the residents association continues to run the Summer Project to this day.The Residents Association also provided a service for teenagers in the area. Local teenagers were catered for two evenings per week when they met to participate in a structured programme of games and activities. In association with the North Connaught Youth Services, the Youth Group participated in fun and stimulating events and competitions. Prior to the porta-cabin all youth group meetings took place in the home of one of the residents.
The porta-cabin also acted as a base for a Community Employment project, which the Residents Association initiated and ran through FÁS. This project ran for a number of years working to maintain the upkeep of the local area.
The Residents Association also formed a local women’s group known as the Corryeolus Women’s Group. This group has participated in a wide range of training and recreational projects over the years and they too remain active to this day.
Despite the growing level of social capital, in association with greater services and resources, the Residents Association continued to have concerns about the inherent lack of childcare facilities in the area and the increasing number of pre-school age children in the community.
In addition to this there were no facilities to serve the older residents. Such concerns planted the seeds for the development of a “Purpose Built Community House” which would be developed in association with local residents to provide a range of services to meet with the social and economic needs recognised within the community.
The new Community House was constructed on land provided by Leitrim County Council, with Capital Financing for the project raised by the local community as well as substantial support from a number of funding agencies. The building was completed in 2001 and it has subsequently flourished as a modern, active, multi-cultural Resource Centre serving the local community and the greater Carrick-on-Shannon area.
With the growth of the services that we have to offer, we were fortunate to secure funding for a purpose built cabin that is situated next to our main building. This is a valuable space which enables us to offer a larger space for a Parent & Toddler Group, Youth Group, Training Programmes and Courses. The cabin offers a large, self contained space with its own office, bathroom facilities and kitchen as well as a large room to house tables, chairs, youth equipment and a television lounge area.