Minister for Justice Helen McEntee admires the jewellery of some of the girls at Moneymore Childcare Centre this morning. Photo: Andy Spearman.
When Minister for Justice Helen McEntee dropped into the Moneymore Childcare Centre this morning to officially open their brand new kitchen and dining area it was the culmination of much hard work by the management and a recognition of the support from the people in the surrounding community.
The Centre plays a huge role in the local community and a vital part of their work takes place in the kitchen where head cook Ann O’Rourke and her assistant Jade Fitzpatrick cook meals for all of the children.
Manager Lisa Cleary told Drogheda Life that the children can avail of breakfast, mid-morning breaks, dinner and evening snacks at the centre which is of course vital and welcomed by the children but also gives working Mums and Dads a chance to spend time with their children in the evenings.
Last July it became clear that the kitchen in the Centre was, after 14 years of service, no longer fit for purpose so plans were drawn up for a new one and an extension and realignment of the building to include better facilities.
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They put a call out to local business to quote for their various services and when all the quotes were in they were looking at a bill of €70,000.
They then went into fundraising mode and a GoFundme campaign raised €7,113.00 in donations from members of the public. Louth County Council chipped in another €11,000.00 from their Community Enhancement programme.
The Louth Meath Education and Training Board Came up with another €4829.39 and then the Department of Justice through the Drogheda Implementation Board topped that up by another €48,000 to bring the total to just over €70,000.
Local TD, Fergus O’Dowd said he was absolutely delighted for Lisa and the team in the centre who, he said, have worked so hard to develop the centre to where it is today.
“It was great to see the staff and children working away today in such a warm and friendly environment.
“With the help of my colleague Minister Helen McEntee, who approved €38k towards the creche’s new kitchen project in November, alongside the support of the LMETB, the Drogheda Implementation Board and the local fundraising efforts the kitchen project has now become a reality.
“Local company AWS also stepped up last November by approving very welcome funding to develop their garden facilities through the AWS Community Fund.
“The welcome developments will add another level of support and comfort to the centre’s already impressive offerings and I want to congratulate everyone involved.”
Minister McEntee, who is just back from six months of maternity leave after the birth of her first child Michael Shane, was a very enthusiastic guest at the Centre and enjoyed chatting and playing with the young children at the centre.
She patiently posed for photos and, something rarely seen with Government Ministers, removed her shoes so she could get down among the children as they sat through the tape cutting ceremony after which she joined staff for tea and scones baked by Ann and Jade in the new kitchen.
Labour TD Ged Nash said that ever since the centre was set up by local community leaders it has served children and families in the area exceptionally well.
“Last summer “I was delighted to support their case for funds through representations to the Council and also via various government departments.
“This is a really encouraging development and I want to thank Lisa, the centre manager and congratulate her and her team for their work on this and indeed the Implementation Board for delivering with the department.”