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Monday, 10th June 2019

Moneymore celebrates as Connect marks ten years in the community

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As I turned into Moneymore estate on Saturday afternoon there was a Garda Armed Response Unit vehicle ahead of me.

Oh no! I thought to myself, not again, not today. Especially not today, this is a special day, one for the kids and their Mammy’s and Daddies.

Thankfully it was just a routine patrol and there was no threat to the locals as they turned out to help the Connect Family Resource Centre celebrate ten years working in the estate.

The weather was kind and there was plenty of good old fashioned fun and games for the children, something that some of them may not have enjoyed too much of in a while.

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For the past ten years Mairead Davis and the staff and volunteers at the Connect Family Resource Centre have been providing vital support services and resources to individuals, families and community groups in the area. A service which always comes with a warm and friendly smile.

They provide a range of low cost and often free services, events and courses. The Centre operates on Community Development principles, in which individuals, families and groups identify their own needs and are supported to respond positively to those needs.

On Saturday though what they were providing was a great day out for local families with a fun day and children’s sports day on Mc Ardle Green which included, much to the delight of the children, free chips and ice cream.

Connect Family Resource Centre and other organisations with similar aims such as Cable, and the Moneymore Afterschool Club, have been struggling along for the past ten years trying to respond to the needs of the people in the area.

Just last month they launched a campaign to get a brand new state-of-the-art Community Centre to be built in the area which they reckon could be achieved for just €1.5m. They’ve drawn up the plans and have given them to the powers that be in local and national government but there has been little yet by way of response.

Admittedly they've only had the pans for a few weeks but the Council needs to take this issue very seriously and get working on them ASAP and Drogheda's  Councillors need to be constantly chivvying them along. Speaking of Councillors, the only one to turn up at the celebrations on Saturday was Frank Godfrey.

As former Mountjoy Jail Governor John Lonergan said when he launched the campaign, the Community Centre should have been delivered 40 years ago.

“As the bricks were being laid for the houses, so should the bricks of the welfare services have been laid” he said at the time.

This article was written by Andy Spearman

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