Community crèche hits back at ‘upskilling’ implications

By Maurice Garvey

THE Markiewicz Community Centre Crèche in Ballyfermot has hit back at claims by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, that staff needed upskilling in the wake of the service’s closure this week.

The closure results in the loss of eight jobs for a centre, which served the community for 18 years, cared for up to 40 children, and trained staff to go on to work in other childcare and education centres.

DECIES ROAD Creche September 2016

In July, The Echo reported how the crèche was facing closure due to a change in regulations, which meant they had to hire an additional five staff by September 1.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs say new requirements which came into effect on June 30, mean that all staff working in childcare services require a minimum Level 5 qualification.

However, the Markiewicz Centre have hit back at this statement, saying that all of their staff are already qualified at Level 6.

Furthermore, staff say they have not seen a copy of a sustainability plan for the centre, carried out by department.

Teresa McGouran, CE Supervisor Markiewicz Community Centre Crèche, said: “We don’t need to upskill. All our staff are at Level 6. Staff were annoyed when it was implied they weren’t at the required qualification level.

“We’re closing down due to regulations, which are long overdue. But the new regulations meant that a community centre at the heart of Ballyfermot, in a disadvantaged area, needs five extra staff. If we don’t have five new staff, the health board will close us down. There is no government funding.”

She continued: “We had enough funding from Pobal to do everything. But we have been closed down by the health board. We were in talks with the department, but we haven’t seen a copy of the plan. They had Kavanagh/Byrne doing up a sustainability plan. As far as I know it was finished three weeks ago, but we haven’t seen it.”

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