While Labour was in Government, Joan Burton TD – in her position in the Department of Social Welfare awarded a grant of £30, 000 towards buying a premises. A location that would be central to all of Dublin 15 was required and finally a cottage on the Blakestown Road was purchased. Home-Start Blanchardstown moved into the cottage in January 1998. This gave roots to Home-Start in Dublin 15 and since then the scheme has gone from strength to strength.
Joan Ashbrook - Co-ordinator
In 2001 Joan Ashbrook took over as co-ordinator of Home-Start Blanchardstown.
The demand for childcare was huge and as the Home-Start cottage stood on a large plot of land it was decided that the scheme should apply for funding to build a crèche facility. Funding was applied for under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme to build a crèche facility. A grant from People in Need was also secured and with the balance given by the ECOP a purpose built crèche facility got under way.
The crèche opened in 2003 with 3 part time staff members. The crèche has continued to grow under the care of crèche Manager Ann Murray, who works 25 hrs a week. On Ann’s team there are 3 part time staff and 4 CE workers in the mornings and 2 part time and 1 CE worker in the afternoons plus 3 Special needs assistants. The crèche caters for up to 25 children every morning and 12 every afternoon and still find it hard to keep up with the demand!
The Home-Start Blanchardstown scheme supports approximately 60 families each year and about 150 children.
The scheme has a very busy schedule. On a weekly basis along with volunteers visiting families and the running of the crèche facility, the following activities take place: - Tuesday – family morning, Wednesday - A Women’s group and Friday - a self development group. Also, there are volunteer counsellors who see 8 clients each week and a DADS group who meet on a Monday night. Home-Start Blanchardstown works in close association with Aistear Beo, another family support agency in the area. In September 2008 a preparation course for volunteers and a parenting course will take place.
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Home-Start Blanchardstown "house"
Home-Start Blanchardstown Creche