Our Mission Statement
The Clara Family Resource Centre exists to facilitate, encourage and promote policies, activities and services aimed at improving the quality of life of all age groups in Clara. It will do this in a challenging, inclusive and enjoyable way, in partnership with the community, voluntary, private and statutory sectors.
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In 1994, to mark the International year of the family, the Department of Social Welfare funded 10 Family Resource Centres (FRCs) on a 3-year pilot basis. This decision was motivated by the perception of a gap in the statutory support for community development activities focused on support for families and tackling child poverty. These FRCs were to focus on developing the skill levels and capacities of their local communities, to encourage communities to become self-reliant and self-directed.
An evaluation of work of these FRCs was published in 1997. The key recommendation of the report was the funding of these FRCs should be mainstreamed by the department as a Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme (FCSRC). The report of the commission on the family in 1998 also recommended an expansion of the programme.
The Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme provides financial assistance to FRCs to assist with the staffing and equipping of local Family Resource Centres which provide a focal point for community development activities. There are now 121 FRCs in the Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme.
Since May 2003, the Child Family Support Agency has overall responsibility for management of the programme, including monitoring and support of centres, financial administration and executive decision making.
In 2014 the Family Resource Centre Programme transferred to the new Tusla Child and Family Agency under the Department of Children & Youth Affairs.
The aim of the FRC programme under the Child and Family Agency is to combat disadvantage and improve the functioning of the family unit. Each FRC operates autonomously working inclusively with individuals, families, communities, and both statutory and non-statutory agencies. FRCs are an integral part of the Child and Family Agency’s Local Area Pathways model and act as a first step to community participation and social inclusion. The programme emphasises involving local communities in tackling the problems they face and creating successful partnerships between voluntary and statutory agencies at community level.
In 1999 Clara was proactively targeted for inclusion in the Department of Social Community & Family Affairs Community Development Support Programmes. Once the Midland Regional Support Agency was established in 2000, an extensive consultation took place in the Clara Area. A number of activists and agencies were consulted in this process. A management committee emerged and undertook a training programme and developed the first three-year Work Plan in March 2001. In August 2002, the Management Committee had their first meeting with officials from the Department of Social Family and Community Affairs to discuss the plan, proposed budgets and premises. It was at this time the Parochial Hall was agreed upon. In December, the Clara Community and Family Resource Centre Ltd became a limited company and signed a contract with the Department.
The building was formerly a Catholic Church and is on the Protected Structure list. It was refurbished in the late 1980’s and this is the building as you find it today. Capital funding from the Family Support Agency enabled the board to purchase the building and since then several renovations have taken place over the past few years. On the 9th of June 2018 the Resource Shop opened its door to the public. It was built adjacent to the Boys school, with funding from Leader, and supported by OLDC. The Resource shop sells pre-loved clothes and craft items from the groups including lamps, tables and seasonal goods such as reindeers from the men’s shed. In 2019, we extended the building to make improved toilet facilities, of which the disabled toilet is the only accessible toilet in the community for a particular type of wheelchair, a resource computer room for users of the centre, a new more private and efficient office for our Family Support/Community Development worker and a green room with kitchen facilities for our afterschool’s clubs and meetings. Today the Centre is a lively space at the heart of the community.
- Offaly County Council
- Toy Show
- Department of Social Protection
- Offaly County Childcare Committee
- Comic Relief
Wednesday 10.00am – 12.00
The Baby and Toddler Group is an informal group which provides an opportunity for young children and their parents/carers to meet. This group can offer opportunities for friendship, learning, and play.
Baby/toddler group is a great way of meeting other people with children the same age as yours in our area. It is open to childminders, grandparents and other guardians, babies, toddlers are welcome.
The Wednesday morning lots to do thrives, with childminders, parents and grandparents attending. Parents have taken up the responsibility of running the group. The group is vital to parents at home during the day with a little one and provides an opportunity to meet others in the community in similar circumstances, develop friendships, access and share support and prevent social isolation. For many the group is the only opportunity to bring their little one out and about and provides a great sense of routine in the home.
Recent activities include:
- Hey Pesto 5 week healthy eating, low cost cookery course
- Book buddies – an evidence based programme to promote vocabulary, literacy, confidence, imagination and creativity with reading, puppets and prop.
- Fancy dress party at Halloween and Christmas party with visit from Santa
- Crafts at Easter, Halloween and Christmas
- Motor and sensory activities
Registration for new members – Monday 1pm
The Men’s Shed is a hive of support for groups and committees throughout the town which in turn provide a great sense of pride and passion for its members. The Men’s Shed make crafts and useful materials to save costs for other groups. For example, they created flower boxes for the local tidy towns committee, tea coasters for the Inspire group to paint and design and boxes for the women’s group to paint for St. Patricks day. The Men’s Shed has a ripple effect throughout the community. In addition to supporting groups the shed also creates crafts for approximately 150 children in the summer and Easter camps for the local children. The shed also creates crafts, clocks, lamps etc. to sell in the Resource Shop which in turn provides further volunteer and retail experience to others in the community. Men and Women members always welcome to come down and give it a go.
Additional activities include:
- Wood turning classes
- Willow weaving classes
- Creating willow signs and fairy trails for the community project
- Creating Santa signs and reindeers
- Attending men sheds events
- Creating treasure boxes for the Easter programme
- Creating crafts for St. Patricks Day
- First Aid Workshop
- Health and safety training
Wednesday 2:30pm – 4:30pm September-June
Active retired is a social group for people in the community. They meet every Wednesday afternoon. They Play Cards, Bingo, Pool, and darts. Day trips, nights away, planned meals, great fun and chats togethers are just some of the activities the active retired have been enjoying.:
Various Classes Available throughout the year- Keep watch on social media for upcoming classes
This is a very welcoming and friendly group where a mix of activities are on offer:
- Skin & Beauty
- Chair Yoga
- Cooking Classes
- Stool making
- Christmas wreath
- Mindfulness day
- Working with slates
If you would like to join in and meet some new people, this is a great group to be involved in. Have a chat and a laugh along the way
Thursday 7.30pm-9.30pm September – June
This group meet every week at Clara Frc to socialise, have a cuppa and a chat with like minded women, The group enjoy a range of activities. New members are always welcome, come along, bring a friend and the first night is free.
The Examples of their activities include:
- Flower arranging
- Knit bombing for community project
- Trips away e.g. to Westport
- Table Quiz
- Felt Art
- Movie night
- Scrabble frame making
- Social Dancing
This initiative is very popular with students, teachers and the senior citizens. A group of approximately 10 senior citizens meet with pupils from the local schools on a rota basis. An estimate of 120 young people engages with the programme each year and come from the local primary schools, secondary schools and youth reach. The children prepare questions from a diverse range of subjects, the questions usually have a theme; school days, work, leisure time, etc. and it gives the children an opportunity to have their questions answered by our senior citizens. The purpose of the group is to to give the younger people an opportunity to benefit from experiences, stories, knowledge and wisdom of the older generation. It encourages the acknowledgement of the positive attributes of the young and old. It provides a sense of community while learning from each other to bridge the gap between generations.
- Quizzes on older times in Clara
- Photography project with meetings to talk about the history of photographs
- Childhood of our senior citizens
- Work life of our senior citizens
- History of our community
As a method of fundraising the committee decided to develop a community cookbook. This is truly community effort with local people donating family, tried and trusted, recipes. Local business has provided some sponsorship. Offaly Local Development provided €1000 funding for the project. A competition to design a cover for the book was run in Ard Scoil and Youth Reach. Local Shops sold the books for us. The reaction to the book was very positive especially for the simple recipes, the pictures of Clara and the high standard of production.