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Local staff deliver over 300 food parcels during COVID outbreak

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FOOD PARCELS: Staff at Ballyspillane Family Resource Centre have donated over 300 food parcels to the community over recent weeks. Pictured were: Connie O'Leary (Manager), Marian McCabe (Community Development Worker), and Reception Team Leaders Sophie Haighway and Norma Costello. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

One community is working harder than ever during the COVID outbreak as they experienced a sharp increase in demand for their services.

Staff at Ballyspillane Family Resource Centre have been working hard behind the scenes helping source, fill and deliver over 300 food parcels containing non-perishable essential goods as increase in referrals for support suddenly rose.

Since the onset of the pandemic, there's been a particularly high demand for parent and family supports, food parcels, and counselling and mental health services while income generated by FRCs has fallen steeply, according to the results of a survey released by the Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF), the national representative body for FRCs.

Locally is no different as Ballyspillane FRC staff have not stopped working at all as they try to cater for all levels of support requests.

"We have seen a vast in increase in referrals and demand for family support, food parcels and essential basic supplies for young children and babies," Manager of Ballyspillane FRC, Connie O'Leary, told the Killarney Advertiser this week.

"Referrals have come in through the local authority Kerry Community Helpline, Social Work Department, PPFS Kerry and KASI Migrant Centre and Killarney Mental Health Services.

"We haven't stopped working at all. It has increased two fold and there's a huge amount of work being done."

In one week alone the FRC provided 31 food parcels to families in the Killarney community including vouchers for families living in Atlas House Direct Provision Centre, two laptops and a tablet for second level students for homework and educational learning. Family Support Workers facilitated 10 Meitheal check-ins sessions with families and made 29 phone contact calls and seven face to face meetings through social distancing.

"Thankfully with the additional financial support from Tusla and Kerry Prevention Partnership and Family Support we have been able to respond and provide these essential supplies to new families referred to the FRC. We are also linking in with the local SVdP to support the elderly in our communities for Meals on Wheels supports."

She added that South Kerry Development Partnership (SKDP) are delivering the food parcels for them to minimise the spread of the virus from person to person.

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Ballycasheen junction to get upgraded this year

A long awaited solution to traffic problems where Ballycasheen Road meets the N22 Cork Road looks like finally being resolved this year. Late last year Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocated €1.2m to be spent on the section of road between the Park Road roundabout and Ballycasheen junction. “Technical Approval for the improvements, along this section which […]

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A long awaited solution to traffic problems where Ballycasheen Road meets the N22 Cork Road looks like finally being resolved this year.

Late last year Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocated €1.2m to be spent on the section of road between the Park Road roundabout and Ballycasheen junction.

“Technical Approval for the improvements, along this section which include Active Travel provision and Junction Improvements at Ballycasheen, is being sought from TII before commencing,” a council spokesperson confirmed. “The elected members will be briefed on the proposals ahead of the commencement of the statutory process in early 2022.”

The council official was responding to a request by Cllr John O’Donoghue who sought an update on progress being on a promised “more user friendly junction.”

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€2.3m funding for Kerry schools under Summer Works Programme

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has today (Monday) announced funding of €2.3 million for the approval of 24 projects across Kerry under the Department’s 2022 Summer Works Scheme. This funding is part of the overall package of €65m for a total of 497 projects around the country. “I am delighted to confirm […]

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Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has today (Monday) announced funding of €2.3 million for the approval of 24 projects across Kerry under the Department’s 2022 Summer Works Scheme.

This funding is part of the overall package of €65m for a total of 497 projects around the country.

“I am delighted to confirm this significant tranche of funding which will provide further investment for schools in Kerry under the Summer Works Scheme,” Minister Foley said.

“School communities have shown great resilience, flexibility and leadership in adapting to the many challenges that arose over the course of the pandemic. This funding is a further endorsement of the excellence in education provided by schools across the county. I am announcing the Summer Works Scheme projects now so that schools have a good lead-in period to plan and deliver the projects in summer 2022,” she said.

“Today’s announcement follows on from the enhanced minor works funding which was delivered to schools a number of weeks ago.”

The projects for Kerry included in today’s announcement include Mechanical Works at Two Mile Community NS and Spa National School, Science Labs including Gas Works at Community College Killorglin and Castleisland Community College, as well as Roof Works at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra. 

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