Celebrities Danny O’Carroll and Amanda Woods, aka Buster and Betty Brown, have launched the brand new Community Directory for Child, Youth & Family Services in the North Central Donegal area.

The Mrs Brown’s Boys TV stars, who live outside Letterkenny, were the special guests at the launch of the directory last night. An event took place in Dillions Hotel to share the booklet, the third of its kind to be produced in the county following on from similar directories for the Inishowen area and the North West of the county back in 2020.

The Directory will ensure access to information about Child, Youth and Family services and supports in the area, in addition to information on any of the services that families might need to use across their lifecourse.

The Directory will be a “one stop shop” resource for both members of the public and practitioners.  The Directory covers the North Central area of Donegal covering the Letterkenny and Milford Municipal districts.

Commenting on the launch, Nicola Harvey, Network Coordinator said “the Network is delighted to have the O’Carrolls launch the Directory especially given the O’Carrolls are local to the area and are bringing up a young family here in North Central Donegal.”

Other speakers included Marie Crawley, Interim Manager for Tusla, Donegal, Kieran Doherty, Alcohol Forum, Joint Chair of the North Central Child and Family Support Network and Margaret Larkin, Community Development Manager, Donegal Local Development Company.

The Directory originated from a need to condense and simplify the enormous range of information about statutory, community, voluntary, family support and wellbeing services operating in the area. Accessing information about services, knowing where they are, and how to get to get to them, is a fundamental need when support is sought for children and young people. Likewise, it is important that service providers are supported in their work by sign-posting their services to practitioners, and other local services and resources.

The Network itself was established in 2018 with the support of the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support Department in Tusla. It is one of five similar networks across the county. These networks bring together all Community and Statutory Services in a geographic area who work with children, young people and their families.

In each network you have representatives from schools, youth services, health services, family support services, childcare services, Tusla, as well as many of the locally based community groups in the area.

The purpose of the network is to ensure that all members have a good understanding about the services that are available in their area to support children, young people and families. One of the main aims of establishing the Networks was to ensure that there is “no wrong door” when families go looking for support and this is achieved through each member’s awareness of the supports that are available from being part of the Network.

The Directory takes a cradle to the grave approach covering a range of key service categories from preschools to supports for older people. The Directory includes information about HSE services, GPs, Gardaí, Schools, Churches, Library services, as well as Financial Supports. Local Community Organisations and Centres are included as well as recreational services, Men’s Groups, Women’s Groups, Walking groups and Community Gardens. Counselling Services, Social Prescribing, Family Support and Youth Support are also referenced in addition to the information central area.

Ms Harvey added ”We want to thank all those who have contributed to the Directory. A special word of thanks to Donegal Local Development Company and in particular Liam Friel who worked tirelessly collating the information for the Directory. Finally, thanks to the funders DLDC for contributing towards publishing costs and to Tusla for supporting the official launch”.

It is hoped that hard copies of the Directory will be available through Health Centres and other Community buildings in the coming months. In the meantime virtual copies of the Directory can be downloaded from www.parenthubdonegal.ie and www.cypsc.ie Donegal page.
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