Massive leap of faith by 25 volunteers

By Maurice Garvey

STAFF and parents of Ronanstown Community Childcare Centre (RCCC) are set to take a massive leap of faith in an effort to maintain the sustainability of the crèche.

Currently 25 volunteers have made a commitment to raise a minimum €500 each and jump out of an aeroplane on September 23 – an initiative they also hope will help save jobs at the centre.

ronanstown creche2

New legislation which came into effect this year meant that centres like Ronanstown were no longer able to rely on employing Community Employment (CE) participants – who were funded by the Department of Social Protection.

The new legislation requires all staff working in childcare and education to hold a minimum QQI level 5 qualification in childcare.  

This meant that CE participants had to be replaced by qualified staff, which the crèche directly employs, resulting in a huge increase in the weekly wage bill.

In order to support community crèches dependant on CE participants, the government set up a CE transition scheme providing a one-off payment.

Each crèche had to produce a sustainability plan and demonstrate how they would make up this annual shortfall.

RCCC had to make several adjustments, cancelling weekly summer camp trips, closing down the provision of the service to babies under one year of age, and increasing fees.

They also stated they would fundraise to help make up the shortfall. They have to reach a target of €10,000 per year.

RCCC Project Leader Aishling Silke, is one of the 25 who will take to the skies at the event, which takes place in Offaly.

“I can hardly ask others to do it if I don’t jump myself,” said Aishling.

“We will get down there, do a bit of training, and jump out of the plane, but someone will be with you, thank God. The Irish Parachute Club are facilitating the jump.”

Aishling said they have managed to receive support from a few people in the community for the jump, and encourages anyone else who is interested to contact her at the Ronanstown centre on 4572269.

Alternatively, donations can be made at the centre through sponsorship cards.

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