Representatives of communities throughout the Midlands held a Christmas celebration to highlight the achievements of the hundreds of volunteers who are making a difference in their communities, on Wednesday December 9 in Bridgeways Family Resource Centre, Ballymahon.
Attending the event, organised by the Midlands Support Agency, were volunteers from Family Resource Centres (FRCs ) from Arden View in Tullamore, Battery Heights in Athlone, Bridgeways in Ballymahon, Cara Phort in Ballynacargy, the Family Life Centre Boyle and Clara, Lus Na Greine in Granard, and Knockmay in Portlaoise.
The event was addressed by Deirdre Garvey, chief executive officer of The Wheel, who applauded the work of the volunteers in the eight Family Resource Centres in the Midlands, and the difference that they are making to their projects and their local communities.
“Volunteering is a critical component of a healthy society and community: what we do with our time, with our energy, with our resourcefulness, with our commitment, are part of what mark us as free human beings. I believe that volunteering will be really key to Ireland's economic recovery as it empowers individuals and communities and breaks cycles of dependency.
“Rallying communities towards volunteering reduces the social impact of recession while at the same time contributing to the development of a healthy and sustainable society through active citizenship,” said Deirdre.
Gerry Doherty, Manager of Midlands Support Agency, added: “We are delighted to provide this opportunity for communities in the Midlands to highlight their work and the achievements of hundreds of local volunteers. They really are the lifeblood of the eight Family Resource Centres in the Midlands.”
The evening was an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the extensive and diverse contribution of volunteers to their communities. The volunteers assist in the delivery of services and programmes that include transport schemes, women’s groups, afternoon clubs, breakfast clubs, parent-toddler groups, positive parenting, ICT projects, personal development courses, innovative FETAC accredited film making project, drug awareness programmes, youth projects, mental health projects, active ageing groups, intergenerational projects, historical societies, drama classes, arts and crafts, aerobics and keep fit classes, after schools projects, health courses, summer camps, anti-racism and intercultural awareness, active citizenship, carers support groups and English language classes. They also offer a range of support for many of the emotional milestones that families face through the provision of counselling including new life, beginning experience, suicide support, and bereavement counselling.
In addition to these activities and services, the FRCs are advocates for their communities, raising awareness of issues with a range of public bodies and State sponsored agencies