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Peace and reconciliation starts in the family home

Published on:  25 Nov 2011

New two year programme ‘Family Matters in the Community’ launched in Donegal

A two year programme titled ‘Family Matters in the Community’ has today been launched in Convoy Woollen Mills, Convoy, County Donegal.  The programme which is being implemented by the cross-community and cross-border charity organisation, NW Alcohol Forum Ltd. (NWAF) follows a successful pilot project previously undertaken by the group. 

‘Family Matters in the Community’ has been structured to deliver a programme that sets out to develop and implement effective family support and advocacy approaches that work to equip families with the ‘know how’ not only to address challenging behavioural issues within the home but to also contribute positively to the communities in which they live.

The programme will be aimed at 144 adults and 172 children (6-16 yrs.) living in difficult to reach communities that have suffered as a result of the troubles in Donegal and East Donegal in particular.  Some of the core support services delivered to participants include programmes to address positive parenting, teen skills and family skills assisting in long term reconciliation, community participation and confidence building.

The €335,874 project is primarily being funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) under its Building Foundations’ Community Based Economic and Social Regeneration Programme.  The new project was officially launched by Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children.

Speaking at the launch of the Project, Children's Ombudsman Emily Logan said: "I am really impressed by the spirit of community that I have witnessed here today.  I would like to congratulate all involved in setting up this project and I really appreciate the opportunity to meet with so many of the committed professionals who have worked so hard to get this resource up and running.

“Now, more than ever, we must continue to stress the importance of services that invest in children and families. The commitment of the Family Matters Programme to making life better for children and families right across Donegal continues here today.“

Speaking at the launch, Paddy Harte Jnr., Senior Development Officer for the International Fund for Ireland said: “The Board of the Fund was extremely impressed with the track record of the NWAF in its work empowering families to face the challenges which life presents – especially in the context of strengthening the process of peace and reconciliation on a cross-community and cross-border basis.

“I would like to pay tribute today to all the members of Family Matters in the Community for bringing this project to fruition.  It is another small – but very important – step along the path of promoting healing within families and the wider community.”

Mr Paddy Harte also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for almost twenty-five years: namely, the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Commenting on the new programme, Denis Bradley, NWAF Special Advisor said: “In order to bring about dialogue, communication and minimise vulnerability in communities, change must begin within the family home and interrupt the continuous cycles of ‘myth driven’ fear, anger and exclusion.  Through the three main elements of the Programme, we believe that we can support and build capacity within families in County Donegal to gain a deeper understanding of themselves, others and the communities in which they live.”

The launch of the Family Matters in the Community programme had over 50 attendees, comprising local public representatives and dignitaries, community leaders, special guests, HSE representatives, project participants, together with members of the public.


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