The FAB Huggie Bears Childcare centre, which operates out of the Ferndale, Ashfield and Belvedere (FAB) Community Development Project, in Wexford town, will be holding an open day on Wednesday, May 2, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Run by a voluntary Board of Management, the project was established in 1996 and offers a wide range of services to the local community.
At the heart of the area it serves the centre it has close working relationships with other agencies and organisations including Scoil Mhuire Primary School, FDYS, SIPTU, and Clonfab (Community Employment Project). One of the busiest CDPs in the county it facilitates the work of the Garda Youth Diversion project (SAFE), outreach and development work, in addition to the Huggie Bears Childcare Service.
Speaking to this newspaper, the centre's Childcare Coordinator, Kay Stafford, said: 'We are also a drop-in support service and we direct clients and project users to various other relevant services.'
FAB initially received funding under the Community Development Programme from the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, however, in 2011, the funding allocation was passed over to organisations like Wexford Local Development.
'This left FAB without [the] funding that employed three staff; a Project Manager, an administrator and a development worker,' said Ms Stafford.
Despite the large amount of positive work it does FAB is struggling to survive without its core funding stream.
'However, we continue to provide a wide range of services and supports to the community, despite the loss of three staff,' said Ms Stafford.
She confirmed that lack of funding has greatly impacted on the service of the organisation; at present, it receives financial support from POBAL to ensure the running of its childcare service. There are also once-off small grants, that help with development work, from the likes of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) and Wexford County Council.
Ms Stafford said everyone in the centre is grateful to the organisations that give it support: 'We are very grateful to those funders, without them we could not survive.'
FAB Huggie Bears offers high quality, accessible and affordable childcare, tailored so that the children develop their full potential. 'We welcome children from our local area and the adjoining and extended areas of Wexford,' said Ms Stafford.
She also praised her fellow staff-members for their high level of qualifications and expertise.
'We recently employed a Pre-school Inclusion Co-ordinator to help us co-ordinate and support the inclusion of children with special needs into our service,' said Ms Stafford, while also highlighting that the facility now offers the Free Preschool year (ECCE programme) for children from 3-years-old to school-going age, and from September the acceptance age will be 2-years-and-8-months.
There are many other services offered by the Project and information and registration forms for the childcare service will be available to visitors who attend the open night. To find out more about the very wide range of services FAB CDP Ltd. has to offer contact Ms Stafford on 053-9142018.