People power - community unites for Deansrath Family Centre

By Maurice Garvey

NEIGHBOURING community groups have come to the aid of Deansrath Family Centre, which was forced to close last month after a stolen truck smashed through the front door during an attempted robbery.

Structural damage to the building was so severe that the HSE engineering department declared it unsafe – putting hundreds of vulnerable service users in the Clondalkin area at risk.

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Clondalkin Youth Band

The centre provides numerous support services for more than 150 families in the Clondalkin area and is now relying on the kindness of neighbouring community groups to help them out, including space to cook hot meals for pre-schoolers.

“The community of Clondalkin rallied around and are providing temporary accommodation to keep these social services going,” said Siobhan Feehan, Director of Deansrath Family Centre.

“Pre-school breakfasts, dinners, children’s playgroups and family safe spaces are now dotted around the area.”

The centre is currently fundraising in an effort to open a new premises.

Designs by architect Bernard Gilna for a new state-of-the-art facility were on display last week at an event in The Happy Pear in Clondalkin, which was held to thank the community.

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Deansrath Board with the new plans

It is hoped work can begin in spring and that the centre will be a national model for family and early learning supports.

Former Dublin GAA football manager Jim Gavin donated a signed Dublin ‘Five in a Row’ jersey for fundraising and Clondalkin Youth Band entertained the crowd.

“Deansrath believe in the people they serve and they go the extra mile to deliver the best outcomes for all,” said Deirdre O’Donnell, Deansrath’s child and adolescent psychotherapist.

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The front of the premises

 “They never give up on anyone. When the recent events occurred the staff immediately jumped into action to maintain all services for the clients, avoiding big disruption in the family’s lives.”

Siobhan continued: “We were totally stunned at the attack. It came as a terrible shock to all the 20 staff. We have never experienced any incident like this in the 20-odd years we have been here in Clondalkin.

“Luckily nobody was hurt at 7.30am in the morning when the truck rammed the centre.

Ten minutes later 25 children would have been coming in looking for their breakfast.”

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