Centre has difficulty securing new CE staff
Cherry Orchard Community Centre

Centre has difficulty securing new CE staff

DIFFICULTIES in securing CE staff threatens to reduce the opening hours at Cherry Orchard Community Centre.

Dublin City Council have advertised for CE roles at the centre in recent months but to no avail.

Currently, the centre has three fulltime city council staff and eight CE staff, but previously employed over 20 CE staff, according to Dave O’Donovan, a Dublin City Council project manager.

Speaking at the South Central area meeting last week, Cllr Vincent Jackson (Ind) said there needs to be a greater incentive to attract CE staff.

“That is the model we have always used in local community centres, but the reality is a few years ago, the Dept of Social Protection in their wisdom ended those payments. Fair play to people on CE schemes, because they get so little support, there is only an extra €19 or €20 a week, but that unfortunately is not a big incentive for people,” said Cllr Jackson.

“We really need to come up with a model that is more sustainable. All our centres are using people on these schemes, it is great that they are there, most go on to fulltime employment, so it is a good stepping stone, but there needs to be a greater incentive.”

Cllrs Daithí Doolan (SF) and Hazel De Nortúin (PBP) urged the city council to work with local management and representatives, to come up with solutions.

Cllr Doolan said: “I’m very disappointed, for the people working in the centre and for local management who I know want to provide an excellent service. We spent years trying to build up the Orchard centre to make sure it became a hub of activity in the community, providing services from dawn to dusk.

“That community continues to be ignored and marginalized. It is unacceptable that we have an LAP (local area plan) on hand to try and turn that community around, but here we have a very practical step and it is not been taken to keep the centre open.

“We need to ensure that, however limited resources are, that we don’t take a regressive step cutting down the hours.”

O’Donovan, who has been a city council project manager in the area for many years, agreed with the sentiments of the councillors.

He said: “We worked very hard to get that centre up and running and it was at capacity just pre-Covid. Funny enough, it is still at capacity with the staff we have, but we are turning away groups we do not have room for, because we only have three fulltime Dubin City Council staff, eight CE staff, where we used to have over 20 CE staff.

“We have advertised for positions in the CE schemes in recent months with no success. The request from myself would be for a general operative from the city council, that would fill a huge gap, and keep us at capacity, and time to get more CE staff on board.”

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