Concerned Parents Against Drugs

You may have heard an excellent documentary on RTE 1 radio over the weekend looking back at the Concerned Parents Against Drugs campaign in Dublin’s inner city and in particular in the North East Inner City. We would encourage you to set aside 45 minutes or so to listen to the documentary. Sadie Grace who is CEO of the National Family Support Network took part in the programme as did Bernie Howard former management committee member of NFSN.

The documentary is called “We Say You Have To Go”  here is the link

The National Family Support Network exists to support families dealing with substance abuse by a family member. The overall aim of the National Family Support Network is to improve the situation of families coping with substance misuse by developing, supporting and reinforcing the work of family support groups and regional family support networks, by working for positive change in policy and practice and by raising public awareness about the problem of substance misuse for families and communities.

What is family support?

Family Support can be offered on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting. The model of family support that the Network advocates is peer family support. This is where a number of people with a common problem, in our case living with drug use, come together to share their experiences.

The Benefits Of Family Support:

  • It interrupts the negative dynamic of drug use within the family
  • It helps family members look after their own needs
  • It helps families help the drug user to make constructive choices
  • It helps families to reinforce the work of the service agencies
  • It enables families to be a resource to their own communities

You can find out more about the NFSN here

If you are living with the effects of substance abuse in your family you can find contact details for help and support here

Helping to keep children safe from harm – new website launched

A new website has been launched to help support vulnerable children, young people and their families during this time of the Covid 19 pandemic. Here is the press release from the launch by Minister Katherine Zappone

Campaign encourages everyone to be mindful of vulnerable children and young people in these challenging times

Supporting Children is a portal on, providing access to the many supports and services for children, young people and their families

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has today launched Supporting Children, a campaign to encourage everyone to be mindful of vulnerable children and young people in these challenging times. The Supporting Children campaign includes the launch of a new webpage,, which will be an information hub for children, young people and their families on how to access the many supports and services provided by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), Tusla, the Child and Family Agency and their funded organisations.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla have a robust infrastructure of services providing assistance to children, young people and families throughout Ireland, involving over 800 funded organisations. This existing system of supports, with an effective coordinating structure, was mobilised during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure that vulnerable children and their families could still access the services they needed. These supports include services designated as essential front-line services in the COVID-19 crisis (those addressing child protection; children in care; domestic, sexual and gender based violence; and certain youth work services), other key supports (youth, community, and family services) and coordinating structures (Children and Young People’s Services Committees). These services responded and adapted in innovative ways to continue to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.

Tusla continue with their essential work in child protection. Anyone with a concern about a child’s safety or welfare should contact their local duty social work office using details on the Tusla website.

Launching the campaign, Minister Zappone said:

“These have been and remain challenging times for children, young people and their families. We encourage everyone to look out for those who are vulnerable and be aware of the supports and services that exist through my department, Tusla and our many partner organisations in the community and voluntary sector. During the COVID-19 pandemic we have worked on new and innovative ways to ensure the welfare of children and young people and we will continue to do so. My department continues to lead in harnessing the contribution from all stakeholders in improving outcomes for children and young people. The Supporting Children website will help to ensure that these services continue to be readily accessible to those who need them by providing information on services in one place.”

The Supporting Children website provides information on Child Protection and Welfare, with guidance on how to report concerns about a child, as well as Parenting and Family Supports, Education Supports, Youth Services, services for Children in Care, and Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Services.

It shows the breadth of services and supports for children provided by the State and Community and Voluntary sectors and outlines the actions and innovations taken by services in responding to the challenges of COVID-19. The website also includes links and contact details to organisations such as Parentline, Childline, Barnardos as well as how to find local Family Resource Centres (FRC) and Children and Young People’s Services Committees (CYPSC).


The website provides information on a number of topics including:

  • Parenting and Family Support
  • Child Protection and Welfare
  • Children in Care
  • Youth Services
  • Education Support
  • Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Services

The website can be accessed at


Do you need to talk to someone? Donegal Parent Support Line launching on Thursday 14 May

A new free Parent Support Line will be available to parents in Donegal from Thursday 14 May. The Donegal Parent Support line is being co-ordinated by the Donegal Family Resource Centre Network in association with a wide range of community and voluntary organisations involved in family support. The service will be available from Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm.

Many parents are feeling stressed and need a listening ear at this time. There are extra pressures with home schooling, working from home, anxiety about Coronavirus and a sense of uncertainty about what the coming months will bring. Parents are encouraged to avail of the opportunity to talk through those issues which are causing them stress. The Donegal Parent Support line will offer this, with a range of experienced and specialised family support and youth workers available to call parents back. The service will offer sign-posting, advice and the opportunity to talk through whatever is causing a parent stress – no matter how small the issue may seem.

Here is an interview with Leona from the Mevagh Family Resource Centre and Martin from the Moville and District Family Resource Centre on the Greg Hughes show on Highland radio today about the new service

This initiative has been developed in partnership with the Tusla Prevention Partnership and Family Support team in Donegal as part of the ongoing strategy to develop and fund early intervention community supports and initiatives for families in the county.

The number for the new Donegal Parent Support Line is 1800 112277 and the service will operate Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm – phonecalls to the number are free.


Parenting Through Covid19 – helpful hints to keep home life happy

The staff of Springboard Family Support Project and Finn Valley FRC CLG have come together to produce the ‘Parenting through COVID19 Booklet’  offering some helpful hints to keep home life happy. The PDF of the booklet can be downloaded here – just click the link below.

FVFRC – Booklet PDF SF

With schools closed and lots of uncertainties for parents, it’s more important than ever to use positive parenting and healthy approaches to parenting in the home. The staff of Finn Valley FRC and Springboard Family Support Project, both as practitioners and parents, have put together some articles looking at:
• Establishing routines in the home
• Problem Solving
• Encouraging Learning in the home
• Managing Behaviour and Consequences
• Communicating with Teenagers
• Self Care for Parents

They have also added some helpful links to access reliable information on COVID19.

Parenting Through COVID 19 by the World Health Organisation:

Talking to Children and Young People about COVID 19 from the
Department of Education and Skills:

COVID 19 Information and Advice from the HSE: All you need to know
about COVID19 in Ireland:

Parent Hub Donegal
Donegal Youth Service
Jigsaw: Daily Practitioner Updates and Online Clinics for Young People

Meitheal – working with children, young people and their families to encourage strengths and identify needs

Do you want some help with school, home, friends, worries, loneliness, family? Maybe a Meitheal could help.

Meitheal is an old Irish word that describes how neighbours come together to support each other in times of need. Our Meitheal can support you and your family to get the help you need.

Here is a video made by other young adults which will help you understand what a Meitheal is and how it works. Just click the link:-

Meitheal is a way of working with you and your family to encourage your strengths and to identify your needs.

Meitheal brings together people and services that can help you to make the changes you want in your life. The kinds of services that might be involved in Meitheal are schools, youth services, family resource centres and medical services.

If you are facing challenges that are difficult to overcome and you need someone in your corner, Meitheal could help.

Here are some of the challenges that Meitheal could help you with:

  • Problems at school
  • Feeling down
  • Not getting on with your parents
  • Problems at home
  • Loneliness
  • Worrying a lot

Maybe you are already getting support from different services but finding it hard to deal with all of them at once. Meitheal brings everyone together. It’s a bit like having a whole team looking out for you.

How does Meitheal work?
  • You will work with a supportive person called a lead practitioner. This may be a youth worker, counsellor or teacher. The important thing is this is someone you trust and are happy to work with.
  • Your lead practitioner will help you think about your strengths and needs
  • The next step is your lead practitioner will arrange a Meitheal support meetingfor you and your parents or guardians where they will  help to put a plan in place for you. This may include a youth worker, a youth club leader or teacher
  • The Meitheal team will help you follow the plan and make the changes you want in life, thought regular meetings for as long as you need it
  • You and your family will decide how long you want this support for
It is very important that you and your family understand every part of the plan.

What have young people said about Meitheal?

I had a say about what was happening for me, all the people who worked with me, coming together for me, was good

Meitheal changed how I thought of myself, who I thought I could be in life and just gave me a goal

If you think Meitheal could help you contact your local office here in Donegal on 074 9123783

Meitheal -supporting you and your family so you can find the help you need

As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. This is still true today. The name Meitheal comes from an old Irish word that describes how neighbours get together to give each other practical help and support.

Meitheal is a way of working with children and their families to identify and respond to their strengths and needs in a timely way.

Meithal brings together people and services who want to support a child or parent so that he or she can make the changes to their life that they want and need.

The kinds of services that might be involved in Meitheal are schools, youth services, family resource centres and medical services.

If you feel that your child has additional needs of is facing challenges that are difficult to overcome, Meitheal may be able to help you.

Examples of the challenges Meitheal could help with are:

  • A child having problems at school
  • A child feeling down
  • Additional needs
  • Family problems
  • Illness or bereavement
  • Difficult behaviour
  • Relationship with your child

You may already be getting support from different services but finding it difficult to deal with all of them at once. Meitheal brings everyone together. Your family will have a supportive person called a lead practitioner. This person may be chosen by you. Your lead practitioner will help you and your child to identify your child’s strengths and needs.

The next step is your lead practitioner will arrange a Meitheal support meeting where you and your child will help to put a plan in place. Everybody will support you to follow your plan to make the changes you and your child wants in their life.

It is very important that you, your family and your child understand every part of the plan.

You, your child and your family will decide how long you want this support for.

My son is more settled now. I feel that all my concerns as a parent were listened to and we were included in all decisions.

Everyone’s on the same wavelength – I’m not having to relay back … Everyone sits at a table and we’re all on the same page.

If you think a Meitheal could help your family then contact your local office on 074 9123783

Finn Valley Family Resource Centre invites you to come and say hello

Finn Valley Family Resource Centre

is a newly established FRC based in Stranorlar. We intend to provide a broad range of community based family supports and community development services. We are a company limited by guarantee and a charity with a board of directors who are responsible for the governance around our service delivery. We are part of the National Network of Family Resource centres and Funded by Túsla, The National Child and Family Agency.

Our mission is to ‘provide families and individuals with a range of activities that will support and nurture family and community life’

As a Family resource centre, we are committed to the principles of community development and social justice. In this our aim is to provide an open, accessible space to support families and to support in building the capacity and leadership of the local community. We are dependent on the community’s input to develop and enhance our service delivery.

We have an open evening on Tuesday 11th December 6-8pm. Why not come along and see what is on offer.

What is a Family Resource Centre


Donegal is about to get its tenth Family Resource Centre based in the Finn Valley.

Donegal’s Family Resource Centres are part of Ireland’s largest family support programme providing services to families living in disadvantaged areas across the country.

What do Donegal’s Family Resource Centres do?

They provide information, advice and support.  Information on services and options available locally, advice on accessing rights and entitlements and one-to-one support to families on a range of issues. The Family Resource Centre’s act as a focal point for onward referrals to main stream services.

They also provide services in their centres to local families such as Parent and Toddler groups, Breastfeeding support groups, Parenting programmes, Carer’s groups and Bereavement groups. Many of the Family Resource Centres run their own local counselling services and Social Prescribing services which work together with GPs and health professionals to help fill the gap in services to families.

They offer a range of after-school activities for children; sports, arts and homework clubs as well as specialist learning support for children with particular needs such as dyslexia.

The Family Resource Centres in Donegal work closely with Donegal E&TB to provide a wide range of community education classes for adults at their centres such as arts and crafts, computer and IT classes, fitness and wellbeing classes.

In addition Family Resource Centres work together with volunteers from the community to develop things like Men’s Sheds, Breakfast Clubs, Community Gardens, Writer’s Groups and Walking Groups. They often hold events and open days for health screening, wellbeing and pampering and family fun days.

Please drop into your local Family Resource Centre you will always find a friendly face, a staff member who will listen and treat your enquiry in total confidence.

The Forge Family Resource Centre, Pettigo: 071 9861924

Donegal Town Family Resource Centre: 074 9725337

Downstrands Family Resource Centre, Portnoo: 074 9545879

Cara House Family Resource Centre, Letterkenny: 074 9123986

Raphoe Family Resource Centre: 074 9145796

Moville and District Family Resource Centre: 074 9385548

Mevagh Family Resource Centre, Downings: 074 9155055

Dunfanaghy Family Resource Centre: 074 9136548

Celebrating Make One Change 2018 with our fabulous prize winning families

A great night was had last Thursday at the prize giving for Make One Change 2018. The event was held in the Central Library Letterkenny and families from all over Donegal were presented with the prizes they had won in the Make One Change draw. Over 220 families had signed up to make some small change in their family life – a small change that could make a big difference. For some families it was about having less screen time and more family time. For others it was about getting out and getting active together. For others it was about making time to eat dinner together and for some it was about growing the vegetables that would go into the dinner! Different families, different ideas, but all wanting to give themselves the opportunity to strengthen and enjoy their family life even more.

Many families had mentioned that they wanted to eat more healthily so on the night Joan Maguella from the Poppy Seed Bakery did a wonderful presentation on how to make healthy, handy lunches and snacks. Better still, everyone had the opportunity to sample Joan’s food over a cup of tea afterwards. Valerie Bryce who plies her trade as a storyteller under the name Mabel’s Fables entertained the children with a very interactive story and then delighted everyone with a beautiful story she had written specially for the occasion. Valerie can be contacted on 0879116079.

Many of the services that support family life in Donegal were present on the night, providing information for parents to take away or to have a chat about what their service offers. ParentStop, DLDC, Jigsaw, Donegal Youth Service, LifeStart, Donegal County Childcare, Foróige, the Strengthening Families Programme and Parent Hub Donegal were all represented. Information on all these services and more can be found on the Parent Hub website and on Facebook.

Parent Hub Donegal who organised and promoted the campaign want to thank all those who sponsored prizes – The Wild Atlantic Camp, Portsalon Luxury Camping, Alcorn’s Tropical World, Wains World, Iona Cois Locha, The Station House Hotel, Gartan Outdoor Education Centre, Coillte, M&S, Arena 7, Kee’s Hotel, Century Cinema, Oakfield Park, Aura Leisure Centre, Spraoi agus Spórt, the Abbey Hotel, the Millpark Hotel, Eclipse Cinema and Lidl. Thanks also to Rory Gallagher and all in the library whose hospitality made the event possible and to Tusla for funding.

Parent Hub Donegal looks forward to catching up with some of the families in the months ahead and finding out what benefits have come from the small changes they have committed to.