THERE was great joy in the Church Street area on Sunday evening at the announcement that Castleisland Family Resource Centre had won the overall prize at the Kerry Community Awards at the finals in Killarney. The annual competition is organized by Kerry County Community & Voluntary Forum and sponsored and supported by The Kerryman Newspaper.
"The possibility of developing a Family Resource Centre for Castleisland was first discussed in 2004 when this area was pinpointed as one in grave need of such a centre" said centre co-ordinator, Liz Galwey.
"We saw the need for a centre which would facilitate all members of society and provide opportunities to learn and develop skills. The local branch of St. Vincent de Paul Society took on the project as they had a suitable site here on Church Street and felt it would be an extension of their work.
The centre, which opened in March 2009, comprises of a pre-school, 'Bright Beginnings' and an education /meeting room. Since 2009 the centre has gone from strength to strength and has reached out to the community at large by providing courses and information sessions on various issues and topics for people of all ages. Courses range from computers to parenting, personal development to arts and crafts and much more for adults while kids can enjoy regular craft workshops, book club and knitting camps. The centre has strong links with several well established agencies throughout the county such as Kerry Education, HSE, KDYS, NEKD, SHEP, SW Counselling and MABS to name but a few.
On Sunday last the winners were announced at a function which was held in Killarney.
Castleisland Family Resource Centre Conference president, Marie O'connor has said that it was an honour to be nominated as one of three finalists in their categoy. "It is fantastic, to be chosen as overall winner is a wonderful achievement and has given conference members and staff the encouragement and drive to continue with the initiative in hand and to further develop the resource centre for the good of the community."