Limerick family resource centre to close doors as part of national childcare protest

Rebecca Laffan

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Rebecca Laffan

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rebecca.laffan@limerickleader.ie

Limerick family resource centre to close doors as part of national childcare protest

The Board of Management of Northside Family Resource Centre CLG in Ballynanty has announced it will cease all operations for one day on February 5 to join the National Childcare Protest in Dublin

A LIMERICK family resource centre will close its doors for one day next month in order to partake in a national protest. 

The Board of Management of Northside Family Resource Centre CLG in Ballynanty will cease all operations on February 5 to join the National Childcare Protest in Dublin.

As the largest family resource centre in the country, Northside FRC employs 74 staff directly, operating numerous services, including two childcare services, an afterschool service, youth work services, adult education, parenting support and advocacy service, child and adult therapy services, community groups and clubs, meals on wheels and many more.  

“We are challenging the Government, and its agents, to start listening to the actual issues facing children, parents, workers and providers operating across the country, and more specifically, those living and working in the most deprived areas in all of Ireland,” said a spokesperson, “we are providing a State function to the highest of standards for the best value for money. However, we are in crisis.”

The chairperson of Northside Family Resource Centre, Gerard Bracken, said: “It is difficult to cease operation, even for just one day, given the impact it will have on parents, children and older people especially.

“We are concerned for our many service users but also the loss of income that will result for the centre. However, the Board has a duty of care to all stakeholders and we are therefore seeking long-term sustainable change in the sector,” he added, “the status quo is driving dedicated workers out of the sector making sustainability and quality assurance more and more difficult. The Board, therefore, will travel with staff to Dublin for the protest.”

Northside Family Resource Centre are calling on parents, community members, and any other concerned persons, to join them in Dublin to say ‘we’ve had enough.’

Northside Family Resource Centre is demanding the following:

- “A new way of funding Childcare Services. The National Childcare Scheme is not fit for purpose as it is based on the economic productivity of parents rather than the needs of children. There is room for both, and all children must be included in any funding scheme.” They are calling for the National Childcare Scheme to be poverty proofed ensuring no child is excluded based on their parent’s employment status.

-  “Low staff wages cannot be used to subsidise the cost of childcare any longer”. Northside FRC call for a professional National Childcare Salary Scale that represents the level of education, experience and ongoing professional development of workers and is adequately funded.

- A Childcare Funding Scheme where providers can offer decent employment terms and conditions. “We are forced to place workers on sub-standard contracts (part-time hours; 38-week year; temporary contracts etc) due to the current funding model as our income fluctuates throughout the year and year on year. This must end,” said a centre spokesperson. 

Basic employment terms and conditions are necessary to provide a high-quality service and the centre, and tell of a parent who is not entitled to a sub-vented place, nor can he afford the full rate saying: “I never learned to read or write. I want my son to get in here so he can do better than me. Be better than me.” This child cannot access an afterschool service. He does not fit the model under current terms and conditions of the National Childcare Scheme.

”We have had enough,” said the spokesperson.