A family reunion organised under the auspices of the Gathering last year has led to a prominent Chicago-based family becoming financial benefactors to the Ballingarry Family Resource Centre.
Members of the Bredemann family visited the area last summer as part of the Noonan Cagney family gathering which was hosted by Ballingarry FRC. The Bredemanns are well known for their philanthropic work in Chicago and, following the visit, continued to liaise with local councillor Patrick C Fitzgerald, with the result that they have now agreed to provide financial support to the centre in Ballingarry.
While the exact amount of money involved has not been revealed, it is understood to be substantial.
“I am delighted that this has fallen into place,” said Cllr Fitzgerald.
“The Bredemann family is involved in similar sponsorship schemes and contributes to many communities in Chicago.”
Cllr Fitzgerald added that he expects this to be an “ongoing relationship” and he hopes that members of the family resource centre will get the opportunity to travel to Chicago to see first hand the work being done there with the support of the Bredemanns.
Ballingarry FRC was set up by Croom Family Resource Centre last June in response to the closure of the library building in Ballingarry. Damien Brady, chief librarian of Limerick County Council worked closely with Zara O’Driscoll, co-ordinator of Croom and Ballingarry resource centres, in refurbishing the building, and overseeing the handover of the library to the FRC.
The centre now offers services such as computer classes, counselling services, community café, women’s group, parent and toddler group, children services as well as a drop in internet café.
Following a meeting in the community this week to announce the funding, it was decided to roll out a tourism and heritage initiative for the area with a tourism brochure to be launched in the coming months showcasing local heritage points such as Knockfierna and the deLacey Castle.
Michael Rowsome, a local artist has offered to oversee the creative and visual side of the project.
To make suggestions or get involved, contact Zara O’Driscoll or John Harnett, both of whom are overseeing the project.