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Family Resource Centre in Laois call on Government to put community services at the heart of Budget 2025

Portlaoise-Family-Resource-Centre Treo Nua

Representatives from Portlaoise Family Resource Centre met with members of the Oireachtas at a briefing event in Buswells Hotel, Dublin, to urge them to adequately fund community services in Laois in this year’s Budget.

The Resource Centre said the increased funding was needed so that they can “provide the level of support services that are desperately needed in local communities.”

The event was run by the Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF), the national representative body for Family Resource Centres, to officially launch its Budget 2025 submission.

The Family Resource Centre (FRC) programme is the largest community-based family support programme in Ireland. Through a network of 121 FRCs, it supports families in communities experiencing poverty and disadvantage.

The primary call on Government was for an increase in core funding for all 121 FRCs, to €240,000.

Earlier this year, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman TD raised the minimum level of core funding to €160,000 per FRC.

However, this figure was identified six years ago as the basic level of funding for new FRCs.

Commenting on their pre-Budget submission, Fergal Landy, CEO of the FRCNF said:

“Budget 2025 will be a key opportunity for Government to maximise the potential of the FRC National Programme to increase its capacity to deliver for children, families, individuals, and communities in Laois and throughout Ireland, and in doing so, provide additional supports to communities coping with many challenges such as the housing crisis, poverty, the cost of living, and integrating new communities. But this cannot be achieved without adequate funding for our 121 FRCs.

“The current level of funding of €160,000 per FRC is intended to cover the salary of three full-time staff members, operational costs and the running of services in the centre. This is just not realistic nor sustainable.

“The shortfall in core funding is leading to a recruitment and retention crisis of suitable, qualified staff and difficulties in maintaining appropriate premises to deliver the high quality supports our FRCs have become known for.”

In addition to the increase in core funding, the FRCNF is also calling for:

– No new Family Resource Centres, until the funding of existing FRCs is addressed; and involvement of FRCs in the decision-making process when the programme is expanded to ensure alignment to the existing FRC programme approach.

– Ensure consistent, long-term funding for counselling and therapeutic supports in FRCs nationwide.

– Develop and introduce a dedicated capital funding stream for FRCs.

“Last year, over 70,000 therapeutic support sessions were provided to adults and children in FRCs across Ireland,” Mr Landy said.

“As a result of these services being made available, 71% of FRCs reported a decrease in their waiting lists for services like play therapy, one-to-one psychotherapy, and parenting workshops.

“The funding that was made available for these services made a huge impact in communities in Laois and across the country, and showed us the potential of what could be achieved at a local level – if long-term funding was provided.

“We are calling on Government to commit to long-term funding so that we can plan for the future, invest in full-time practitioners and ensure that appropriate therapeutic supports are consistently available for families when they need it most.

Portlaoise Youth Centre

“We are also aware that Government is considering increasing the number of FRCs in 2025, however, we urge that the current funding issues be addressed before adding new centres to the programme.

“In every corner of the country, the FRC National Programme plays a vital role in providing services for its community.

“However, FRCs have long experienced a reduced level of core funding, in comparison to similar organisations, and we are now urging the Government to put communities at the heart of Budget 2025 and invest where it is needed most.”

Further information about the FRCNF is available here.

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