A unique project in the small Co Cavan town of Ballyjamesduff has been providing a lifeline to North inner city Dublin families for over 40 years.
The Cavan Centre, a residential centre for education and community development, was established in 1977 by a group of youth workers to bring young people to the country for short holiday breaks, to experience outdoor activities and a rural way of life.
Its primary target was disadvantaged communities in Dublin’s north east inner city but according to Celine Burke, administrator of the Empowering Communities Programme at the centre, they work today with disadvantaged communities from all over the country.
“We use outdoor education and experiential learning to engage with people from these communities, and we run training programmes,” Celine explains.
The Centre offers a huge range of indoor and outdoor activities including rock climbing and go-carts, but Celine finds that it’s the simplest things that have the greatest impact.
“The biggest positive feedback we get is about the novelty of being able to run in the fields, the turf fires and the home cooked meals.”
An €8,000 grant from National Lottery Good Causes Funding n 2014 went towards developing the centre’s respite facility which enables a family at a time to come for a weekend break.
The family stays in a self -catering, three bedroomed cottage with its own kitchen and living room area and is assigned a specific worker for the weekend to organise a programme of activities. Last year 28 families availed of respite and the demand is increasing all the time.
“We are getting a lot of clients who are experiencing homelessness and are coming from bed and breakfasts or hotels so to be able to cook their own meals and have their own space even just for a few days is a huge thing,” says Celine.
Approximately 30 cent of every €1 spent on games go back to National Lottery funding for Good Causes in the areas of sport, youth, health, welfare, education, arts and heritage.
Over €5 Billion has been raised for Good Causes since the National Lottery was established 30 years ago. In 2016 alone, the National Lottery raised over €210 million for such good causes