Familibase creating new way of working it’s service

By Maurice Garvey

CHALLENGING times have created a whole new way of working and that is very much the case at Familibase - a child, youth and family centre in Ballyfermot.

“It feels like we have set up a new service in the last nine-ten weeks,” said Fiona Kearney, Programme Manager FamiliBase.

FamilIBase Early Years Storytime compressor

Sonia Griffin

Normally, the Blackditch Road centre welcomes some 1,000 people through it’s doors on a given week, runs 44 groups and works with 50-55 families, but that is not possible right now.

However, staff are even more determined to ensure nobody is disconnected at this crazy time.

The building is still open but restricted in terms of staffing levels and access to ensure social distancing and health and safety regulations.

“We have had to make big changes to our provision but we have adapted, families need support,” said Fiona.

Fiona said: “We are delivering hot meals three times a week to families that need it and using that time to offer peer support. If parents are ill, we can do shopping for prescriptions, and we are working with children on homework if they don’t have access to technology.

“It is very tough for parents but we are doing everything we can to keep in touch with families, and keep them and our staff safe.”

The centre’s ‘three strands of delivery’, Early Years Supports, Child and Parent Supports and Youth and Community Supports continue to function, albeit differently to before Covid-19.

Some of the new features include Zoom meetings for parents, and FamiliBase YouTube videos on music, arts and fitness, the latter courtesy of Ken O’Driscoll from Cherry Orchard Running Club, who the centre support.

Crucially, 1-1 supports for children are still taking place.

“It is risk assessed, we can go out to a park or they can come to the centre,” said Fiona.

“This whole time youth workers are on the street. They go around on their bikes and we have had two outreach sessions. A lot of work was put into that. It is a very challenging time for young people.

“We have over 50 videos developed on our YouTube channel during Covid-19. Kids can access these types of videos online but it was about keeping connection with workers.

“We got out over 400 art packs to children and over 300 hot meals per week. St Ultan’s school have been cooking our meals, it got too big for us.”

An emergency FamiliBase number available during Covid-19 is 087 357 4407.

Familibase YouTube channel

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