Barnardos open a centre of care
President of Ireland Mary McAleese recently joined Barnardos to officially open a new state-of-the art Child and Family Centre in north-west Dublin. Bernice Mulligan reports
Improving the welfare of children is the express purpose of Barnardos, Ireland's leading children's charity, so the recent opening of a new purpose-built centre at Church Road, Mulhuddart marked another step forward in achieving this aim.
This new facility will enable Barnardos to provide services to children and families out of one central location in the heart of Ireland's fastest growing community. The opening also marked the children's charity's 25-year involvement in Dublin 15, working to support thousands of vulnerable children and families during this time.
Barnardos new Child and Family Centre brings together a variety of services that previously operated out of locations in Mulhuddart and Roselawn, in Castleknock.
The services provided are focused on increasing children's social, emotional, educational and physical development and well-being. Much of the work with children from birth to six years focuses on schoolreadiness. Programmes include parent and toddler groups, a pre-school, which operates four mornings a week, a parent's support group once a week and ongoing intensive one-on-one work with individual children and their parents based on their needs.
After-school groups are provided to give children the environment and support they need to do their homework and develop their creativity and confidence. A Friendship Group meets weekly working with a small group of children to help them understand, express and manage their emotions and to develop the social skills that enable them to make and sustain friendships.
Since its doors first opened to families five months ago, the Child and Family Centre has worked with more than 250 children and their families. The centre, which has two outdoor play areas and many child-friendly rooms, also facilitates access meetings between children in care, their siblings and their parents.
At the opening, President of Ireland Mary McAleese, patron of Barnardos, said: "For families in Dublin 15, Barnardos has been a source of invaluable support for many years now, helping them deal better with the many hardships and difficulties that life has thrown their way. Importantly, it provides a safe and welcoming space for children and their families. It is clear from the artwork displayed on each and every wall that the children love their time here and benefit hugely from it."
Grainne Burke, assistant director of Children's Services for Dublin North, Barnardos, added: " The building was designed around the physical, social, emotional and environmental needs of the children and their families. This new centre provides lots of safe and welcoming spaces for our one-to-one work with parents, carers and children as well as bright large rooms for group work – it's a fantastic resource."
The Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Barnardos Child and Family Centre can be contacted on 01 820 4033 or visit www.barnardos.ie.
Mother & Babies