MAKE that New Year's resolution to slim down come true and at the same time supporting a worthy charity!
One of North Cork's most progressive organisations, the Cullen and District Special Needs Association, is gearing up for volunteers across the Duhallow Region and beyond to burn up the calories from its annual weigh-in, which commences on Monday night, January 21 at 8pm in Cullen Community Centre with weekly exercises and dancing continuing over ten weeks.
Secretary Moira O'Keeffe said the group are pursuing ambitious plans for the development of a local centre for people with special needs in Cullen.
"Unfortunately, due to Government cutbacks, the provision of state grants has been stopped for the past few years and we await their reinstatement. However, we are assured that the Cullen Centre is next in line when funding is again released", she said.
The Cullen Association are again inviting representatives of the various centres, where friends are educated and they will make a financial presentation to St. Joseph's Foundation, Charleville; COPE Mallow, Kanturk and Cork, Tearmann Lodge and Fr. Corridan Centre, Rathmore and the Monastery, Killarney.
"Last year we made similar presentations; they all replied and expressed their sincere gratitude and deepest appreciation for this financial boost," said Moira.
"They paid tribute to the generosity of the Cullen Association and their many supporters who support the various fundraising projects.
"They added that, this year more than ever, their needs are greater more than ever and voluntary fundraising is hugely important to enable these centres to achieve high standards and services to care for those with special needs.
"They would not be in a position to deliver the range and quality of services without the goodwill and support of local communities", Moira added.
Ms O'Keeffe added that due to a series of Government cut backs in funding since the beginning of the recession, the past year has not been good for those with special needs.
"There is a great fear that some services and the development of new services will have to be reduced," she said. "Waiting lists for assessments has increased and it is feared that services may not be there for new entrants in 2013.
"Over the years a large range of services, facilities and expertise has been developed to provide the range of comprehensive services that are available today, and it is vital to ensure their future", she said.
The Cullen Association are delighted that fundraising events continue to flourish, happy to report a very successful harvest, threshing and vintage afternoon in addition to a generous donation from Willie Fitzgerald following the successful launch of "Cork Music Station".
The 2013 Weigh In commences on Monday January 21 at 8pm and concludes on Monday, March 25 in Cullen Community Centre. Dr. Pat Casey will again oversee the Weigh in; there will be Aerobics conducted by Máire Heffernan and Hannah O'Connor followed by music and dance each night.
"We are indebted to the many people who give so generously of their time, their talents, their services and their resources over the years to assist in our fund-raising efforts; all who sponsor and help to make the vintage afternoon such a great success, all who support our Weigh - in, and the media who promote our events", concluded Moira.