Community Creche Faces Closure in Funding Crisis

A northside Dublin crèche that helps young mums return to employment and education is facing closure unless it can obtain €6,000 of funding by next month. Locals describe St Mary’s Playschool, which is based in Dorset Street flats, as “the only decent community facility in the area”.

The crèche, which is run by four staff and caters for 23 children, will shut its doors later this month as a result of the €6,000 shortfall. The facility is heavily dependent on FAS support through a community employment scheme for the local 245 DIY Club, which has provided childcare to St Mary’s for many years.

Child minder Liz McHugh helped establish the playschool 14 years ago and has been working there ever since. “We haven’t asked for anything over the years and all we’re asking for now is a six month extension of funding for our workers to tide us over until other funding we applied for comes through,” she told Northside People. “It would be an awful shame if the crèche closed down in June because so many young parents depend on it. We are a pretty small set up and I myself did seven years voluntary work in which I did the necessary child care courses that are required.”

FAS indirectly became involved with St Mary’s Playschool several years ago when it began to provide Community Employment (CE) workers to the crèche through the 245 DIY Club.

Denise Hynes, whose son has attended the playschool, vowed to do all she could to prevent the closure of the crèche. “I was born and raised in Dorset Street flats and I can say without any exaggeration that the crèche is the only good thing we have here. Everything else has been neglected and vandalised. This crèche is truly fabulous for the kids and gives them the start they need in life.”

FAS have pointed out that, since they do not actually have a formal funding agreement with St Mary's Playschool and have merely facilitated the playschool on "a goodwill basis in the past", that it is not a question of funding being cut.

Local councillor Emer Costello (Lab), however, called on FAS to continue to provide support for the playschool. “FAS has for many years been very happy with the crèche and they have never questioned anything to do with the running of the playschool,” she told Northside People. “All we are asking is for FAS to provide six months of funding for the staff as a bridging gap until the other funding comes. But instead they are just pulling the rug out from under this vital service.”

Local parent, John Roberts, described the playschool as the only thing left in the area that is untouched by vandals. “My girlfriend and I depend on the service. I think it’s a disgrace that it has been left without funding.”

Original source.