The FRC for Erris campaign was brought to a successful conclusion on Tuesday October 25 last when Tusla CEO Bernard Gloster and Regional and Area Managers gave confirmation to the local steering committee that a family and community support service would be funded for the large rural community, in Northwest Mayo.
The professional and consistent campaign depicted convincingly to The Child and Family Agency and Minster Roderic O’Gorman that the Erris case for a resource such as this was unique and undeniable. The distance from services, the high levels of disadvantage, and the increase in complex family and social needs led the agency to make a commitment to invest in a service to facilitate the community to respond to these needs.
Work on this project began with an initial application under then Minister Katherine Zappone back in 2018. Three new FRCs were established in the region, the Erris application just fell short coming in fourth place. There were two key recommendations following the unsuccessful application; set up a local committee to ensure a bottom up approach, and carry out more localized research.
In late 2018 local research was completed by Strategic Direction under Erris Interagency Network. In autumn 2019 a local steering committee made up of members of the community and representatives from organisations and agencies operating in Erris was established. Three years of hard work, dedication and passion, overcoming obstacles in the campaign caused by COVID-19, the committee have now achieved their aim to secure a resource centre for the area.
Tusla CEO, Bernard Gloster congratulated the group pursuing this advocacy for the Erris area in such a professional and articulate manner, stating: “The uniqueness of Erris in the sheer distance from a whole range of services as set out in the committee’s plan and that together with aspects of rural isolation presented a very compelling case.” In an official confirmation the CEO approved the establishment of a Family Resource Support Service and thanked the committee for their commitment. He concluded “I look forward to visiting the area in the near future and to hear of what no doubt will be the very positive progress for the weeks, months and years ahead.”
Jubilant following the news, Committee Chairperson Leanne Barrett explained “Our vision for the area is an inclusive, sustainable and independent community that is self-sufficient and provides a supportive environment to all those living here. We have always said that any project must be locally based, embedded in the community, with local involvement and ownership. We now have the resources and investment needed to create a project that will strengthen the Erris community and ensure that local families have services and supports available to them in their own area.”
The strategic plan and rationale document that made such a powerful case, will now be the basis for the committee establishing a local service and beginning work in the Erris community. This is a significant milestone for family support and community development in the area and the local committee are excited for the new chapter in this ambitious project.