Family Resource Centre

Family Resource Centre

The Ballyhaunis Family Resource Centre was started in 2004 and is based in the Friary House at St. Mary’s Abbey. The Family Resource Centre is focused on providing practical support, information and opportunities to all families and people in our community and works with other organisations and state agencies to improve the quality and range of services available in the Ballyhaunis Area.

 2010 marked the sixth year for the Ballyhaunis Family Resource Centre, which continued to build and develop as a community organisation, improving the range of activities and opportunities provided from the Friary House at St. Mary’s Abbey along with strengthening the contact with our different communities and families throughout the town.

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Purpose of the Family Resource Centre:


The Family Resource Centre aim to support and be of assistance to all people, families and community groups in our town, providing 


1. information, advice and support to target groups and families in the area


2. practical assistance to community groups such as training, information and advice


3. education courses and training opportunities


4. childcare facilities 


5. initiatives to enhance the role of young fathers in the lives of their children and in the life of the community


6. lone parents groups


7. women’s groups


8. after school clubs


9. parenting courses


10.  meeting point for various groups and services  e.g. CIC,  MABS etc



The National Family Resource Centre Programme:


Ballyhaunis Family Resource Centre is one of 107 Family Resource Centres (FRCs), funded by the Family Support Agency, located throughout Ireland.  


  • The aim of the FRCs is to help combat disadvantage by supporting the functioning of the family unit. 

  • FRC Centre's provide services and supports to families, lone parent families, men, women, youth, the elderly and others in need of support.

  • The emphasis is on the involvement of local communities in developing approaches to tackle the problems they face and on creating successful partnerships between the voluntary and statutory agencies in each area. 

  • Family Resource Centres (FRCs) involve people from marginalised groups and areas of disadvantage at all levels of the project.

  • Each FRC is different and responds to the individual needs of the local community. 

  • FRCs can act as a first step to community participation and social inclusion. 

  • By giving those marginalised or living in poverty the opportunity to participate in the decision making which affects their lives, it can lead to improvements in their living standards and overall well-being. 




Some of other the activities which have taken place this year include our Computer Summer IT Camp for Children, the Jobs Club and a month long IT Course for Unemployed People. 


The Family Resource Centre continued to operate a range of other courses which we have successfully been running over a number of years - Digital Photography, Computers for Beginners and Improvers, which have proven popular with adults and older people and are provided free or for a small charge. 


Support from Mayo North East LEADER Partnership has been obtained to replace the Family Resource Centre’s 10 laptop computers with brand new computers running Microsoft Windows 7 which will be installed early in 2011 and enable us to continue this valuable and popular work.


 In 2010 over 140 people took part in these courses which were run in morning and evening times during 2010, while our Community Internet Service – which provides a free Internet Café during weekdays, was used by over 2,431 visitors during the year.  


2010 marked the first full year of our new Community Pre-School Service which is based next to our office at St. Mary’s Augustinian Abbey. 


The Community Pre-school caters for children aged over 3 years and 3 months providing a free Monday to Friday childcare service during school term time under the Governments National Free Preschool Year Scheme. 


The Community Pre-school has proven extremely popular with local parents and the quality of the service provided by its dedicated staff which has been recognised at both County and National levels. The family resource centre now operates two childcare services in the town – with the other “Greater Tomorrow” service based in the Old Convent Asylum Accommodation Centre. 


Both services provide over 62 childcare places each week employ 7 local childcare staff and operated the “High Scope” system of quality childcare provision. Courses in Parenting and children’s development are now also being offered by the Family Resource Centre’s Childcare Staff, with the first of these having taken place in November. 


The two childcare services form part of a wider Family Support Project being delivered by the Ballyhaunis Family Resource Centre and HSE Early Childcare Services to support Asylum Seeker families living in the town and provide Integrated Childcare opportunities to all families in the community.


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International Communities


With 36% of our local population coming from non Irish backgrounds, the Family Resource Centre continues its work with the International community in Ballyhaunis, improving contacts and working together to provide a mix of activities for children and families. The opening of the new Community Preschool at St. Mary’s Abbey has enabled children from all our communities in the town to share and learn together.




The Family Resource Centre continues to provide an outreach office to Mayo Citizens Information who attend once per month to answer questions and help people find out about their entitlements and rights.  Vincent de Paul and AA both use the FRC office to hold their meetings and carry out their activities.


Efforts were also made during the year to start a Family Support Group for families affected by drug addiction and funding has been obtained from the Western Region Drug Task force to run a course in 2011 to raise awareness and provide families with advice and support.  


Traveller Community


It was with great sadness that the Family Resource Centre’s work with the Ballyhaunis Traveller Pre-School in Tooraree, came to an end this year with the Governments decision to close all the Traveller preschools throughout the country.  The preschool in Tooraree had operated for 10 years providing an excellent and affordable childcare service, complementing the work of the VEC Training Centre with the Traveller adult community. A well attended event to mark the services’ 10 year anniversary and the dedicated commitment of its manager Anne Lyons and committee members Moire Noone and Sister Geraldine Farrell was held last year.


Volunteers & Partnership with the Community


A great deal of the work of the Family Resource Centre depends on the participation of Volunteers in both our management committee and in the activities themselves. A successful Women’s Basketball activity began at the start of this summer with the help of a Volunteer Sports Coach, which otherwise wouldn’t have taken place. 


The Family Resource Centre is an active member of the Abbey Partnership, the Ballyhaunis Community Council, and Abbey Pattern Committee, contributing to the work of these organisations and taking an active part in their activities held in the town.


Board Members and Staff:


The Family Resource Centre is controlled by a board of directors made up of people living in the Ballyhaunis community, in 2011 the officers were;  Chairperson - Seamus Grogan, Secretary – Tracey McDermott, Treasurer – Manar Cherbatji. The other members are Christina Concannon, Stephen Grogan, Betty Koinange, Mary Morrissey, Hina Rehman and Aliya Shakoor. Talib Chaudhry joined the board during 2010 while Teresa Maughan, Eileen McDonagh, Stephen Ng’ang’a and  Mamoona Zafar stepped down after completing their term of office. 


A copy of the FRCs annual report is available to anyone interested, just call into the Friary House at St. Mary’s Abbey. The Staff are Stephen Grogan and Tracey McDermott in the Friary House along with childcare workers Patricia Kelly, Barbara Murphy, Liz Ward, Cliona Mulvaney, Helen Kiely Nicola Ryan and Maura O’Dowd.



Contact Details:


Stephen Grogan

Ballyhaunis Family & Community Resource Centre

The Friary House

St. Mary's Abbey


County Mayo


Tel. 00.353.949630031