DONEGAL’S Family Resource Centres (FRCs) have experienced a sharp increase in demand for their services since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The FRCs have reported particularly high demand for parent and family supports, food parcels, and counselling and mental health services.
At the same time, the income generated by FRCs has fallen steeply. That’s according to the results of a survey released today by the Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF), the national representative body for FRCs.
There are ten FRCs in Donegal – Cara House, Donegal, Downstrands, Dunfanaghy, Finn Valley, Mevagh, Moville, Pettigo, Raphoe, and St Johnston & Carrigans.
The Family Resource Centre programme is the largest community-based family support programme in Ireland. Through a network of 121 FRCs, it supports families in communities experiencing poverty and disadvantage.
The FRCNF survey shows that 83 per cent of FRCs have experienced an increase in demand for their services over the past three months, with a significant majority of those (62 per cent ) witnessing an increase in demand of more than 25 per cent.
FRCs are playing a key role in collecting, preparing and providing food for families and individuals in need. Almost all FRCs are now providing food packages, food vouchers or cooked meals to families in their local area, with some providing food for hundreds of families on a weekly basis.
FRCs are providing activity packs for families – with a focus on home-schooling and entertainment for children.
FRCs are undertaking regular check-in calls with vulnerable members of their local communities, with many FRCs contacting hundreds of people each week.
At 11am tomorrow, Friday, 12th June, all FRCs across Ireland will light a candle in their centres, in recognition of the huge community response to Covid-19, and the ways in which communities have been impacted by the virus.