Wolfe Tone Community House
34 Wolfe Tone Villas
Tel: 053 41964
Fax: 053 41964
We here at the Community House are glad you have taken the time to explore and learn more about life at the first Community House in Wexford town.
We are happy to share the history and developments of the Centre with you. Do take time and visit all of our activities by clicking on the various sections listed below. Feel free to contact us with any comments you might have. Best wishes to one and all.
§ Background and History
Structure of the Community House
Fás Community Employment Scheme
Wolfe Tone Women’s Group Ltd.
Wolfe Tone Men’s Group & Thrift Fund
Wolfe Tone Childcare Section
n Keeping Up To Date
Fás Community Employment Scheme
Wolfe Tone Women’s Group Ltd.
Wolfe Tone Men’s Group
Wolfe Tone Childcare Section
Background & History
In 1984, the clergy and religious of the parish of Wexford looked at the social reality of Wexford, its economic, political, cultural and social structures and the effects these had from various perspectives on the family and local community.
After the initial preparatory work, the laity of the town were invited to become part of the process. Those who became involved in the parish saw social action as one of their priority areas. The areas of poverty action, unemployment and poor housing were clearly identified as problems, needing major support from clergy and religious.
In 1985, as a result of this research, Wolfe Tone Villas emerged as a place experiencing poverty and disadvantage. Early in May 1988, the Parish Co-ordinator at the time paid a visit to Wolfe Tone to further assess the problems within the area. It was noticed that house number 34 was vacant and it was decided that this would make an ideal site for a Community House, and so Wexford Corporation was approached with this vision. On 24th May 1988, Wexford Corporation and Wexford Parish became joint tenants of number 34 Wolfe Tone Villas, with Wexford Parish taking responsibility for the running of a community centre in the house.
And so, Wolfe Tone Community House was born.
While the house was being renovated there was no centre for meetings with residents. Wexford Parish employed a part-time Social Worker, and great credit is due to her for the way she communicated with all the residents, laying the basis of a Community Development Group.
Wolfe Tone Villas is a Local Authority Housing Estate, which was built over 60 years ago. It has approximately 84 houses, 236 residents living in the area, with 112 children and 20 elderly. From the beginning, the House became the “focal point” for the residents, a place where local needs and issues could be raised, discussed and responded to. The House was set up as a “local learning centre”. The aim of the project was to respond to the educational, social and recreational needs of residents. .
The Community House is a resource centre involving the residents of Wolfe Tone Villas. It helps to identify the needs and issues within the estate and provide the relevant resources/strategies to counter identified problems. The House creates a community of belonging where people can grow in understanding, acceptance and love.
l To provide, promote and develop services, strategies and resources helping to relieve poverty and address social and economic inclusion.
l To provide opportunities for individuals and families to be involved actively in their own learning
l To support groups in identifying their needs and responding to them, i.e. women, men, crèche/toddler, lone parents, elderly, youth and Afterschool activities
l To raise awareness around Community Development and our way of working, empowering each other to work for changes, which we identify as being needed
l To build into the fabric of the Centre an awareness of social inequality and key issues. A realisation that social analysis is about addressing the issues of poverty and injustice and how to bring about constructive changes in the social structure
l To develop a structure which facilitates the full participation of all members in decision making in the centre
The overall management of the Community House and its contribution to the community rests with the House Committee. This committee is made up of 6 – 10 residents of Wolfe Tone Villas (elected at AGM’s), representatives of the tenants of the Community House (by invitation), and the Project Coordinator. The House Committee meets bi-monthly. Each section of the Community House has its own sub-group, which report back to the House Committee.
Fás Community Employment Project November 1995
In October 1990, Wexford Parish sponsored a Fás Social Employment Scheme (SES) for the Villas. This was with a view to improving the environmental standard of the estate. Five residents were employed. We had two caretakers working to look after the needs of the House.
The Community Employment Project (CEP) followed on from the SES. Wexford Parish took responsibility for this Project for the benefit of Wolfe Tone Villas in 1995. The aim of the Project is to work towards meeting community needs, for example job creation, adult education, community development, and childcare development.
Four local men and seven local women and a supervisor were employed on this scheme. The women got involved in supporting the elderly,and in preparing and setting up activities for children of all ages. Other areas of responsibility included organising “Open Days” and being host to visiting groups. The men continue to maintain the gardens and surrounding area. During the winter months they work mainly indoors, doing woodwork, making items such as coffee tables, window boxes, footstools and cribs. All items are sold to residents at a small cost and again money is put back into the funds. The introduction of training under Fás CEP has helped participants develop skills related to work and also has encouraged them to acquire new skills.
Wolfe Tone Women’s Group Ltd.
Wolfe Tone Women’s Group Ltd. started shortly after the Centre opened in 1988. All of the women who live in the estate of 84 houses can participate in the activities of the group. Funding in the early days was from the Department of Social Welfare, who made possible the provision of essential kitchen equipment, a sewing machine, and other craft items for the women’s courses. With the help of core funding from 1994 – 1999, the Women’s Group developed from being initially a social gathering to being a structured group. Members of the Women’s Group networked with other groups like Little Bray Family Resource Centre, and they were greatly encouraged by their visits. They also attended International Women’s Group Days, organised by Women’s Groups in the South Eastern region of Ireland.
Many courses have been organised by the group over these nine years, such as I.P.P.A. training, parenting courses, first aid, personal development, drug awareness, community development training, computers, adult literacy, arts and crafts etc. As a group, they tend to focus on local issues, i.e. drug abuse, sub-standard housing, poor amenities, unemployment, and local authority house allocation. The Women’s Group is also very active in organising meetings with a view to lobbying the local authority and politicians through delegations, letter writing etc. Our aim is to promote and support the empowerment of the community and to provide resources towards on-going action for change.
Wolfe Tone Women’s Group Ltd. Acts as a support group meeting weekly to share ideas and issues relevant in our community.
We support each other by:
Educating ourselves, our families and our children
Liaising with local communities and agencies
Networking with other women’s groups.
l To empower each other to work for changes, which we identify as being needed
l To improve our lives and that of our children and community.
l Through the provision of community education and training to provide (accessible) opportunities for women and parents to grow in confidence, take on responsibility, resulting in taking more control of their personal lives and increased participation in the life of the community.
The current Management Committee is predominantly made up of people from the local target group, who have first hand experience of disadvantage and poverty. In 2000, we began the process of setting up Wolfe Tone Women’s Group as Company Limited. The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs allocated funding to us in order to appoint a Women’s Group Co-ordinator, who was appointed in April of 2002.
A purpose built playschool was set up in 1988. The residents are the backbone of the project and many of them work voluntarily for the development of the area through the Community House. A children’s library was set up in the House, and the people of Wexford donated all books.
The Playschool is for the benefit of preschool children and caters for 13 children on a regular basis. In the beginning, it was staffed by one paid leader, and two mothers on a voluntary rota basis. The Playschool continued to develop throughout 1990 – 1991, and the local schools commented on the benefit to the children when they started formal schooling. To date we have worked with the South Eastern Health Board and Childcare Loch Gorman to improve and expand our services. Residents asked for Afterschool study facilities for their children, these were arranged.
Mission Statement of Wolfe Tone Childcare Section
Wolfe Tone Community Playgroup and After School is committed to providing an environment that promotes the physical, intellectual linguistic, emotional and social development of the child.
We offer quality, accessible and affordable community childcare in a safe and loving environment.
We seek to promote the highest standards among all those entrusted with the care of children.
Aims and Objectives
The overall aim is to develop a Community Childcare Centre.
Our objectives are:
l To aid the development of the pre-school child and his/her preparation for primary level education. This is achieved through play, discipline and activities under the supervision of the playschool staff.
l To support parents in their role as carers and educators of their children. To this end we envisage developing a homework club.
l To facilitate educational training programmes.
Management and Staffing
There is an overall management committee for all the activities at Wolfe Tone Community House. A sub-committee of two parents represent the childcare section on this overall committee.
In February 2002, Wolfe Tone Community House was approved grant aid from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme. Wolfe Tone Community House now employs a full-time qualified Childcare Co-ordinator who is responsible for the management and day-to-day running of the childcare service. In addition to the co-ordinator, the Community House employs two part-time childcare workers for the playschool and the afterschool activities. Three other childcare workers are employed under the Fás Community Employment Scheme.
The Summer Playscheme was started in the 1970’s by a group of local women. This was one of the first Playschemes developed in Wexford town. The activities over the years included trips to Annamoe in Wicklow, John F. Kennedy Park, Dublin Zoo and barbeques at local beaches. The Playscheme has been very successful and since 1995, the F.D.Y.S. Young Women’s Project has helped to organise the activities and parties for the children of the area. Funding is raised from raffles, flag days and collections from local residents.
Wolfe Tone Villas is a local authority housing estate built in 1932. At the time of building the houses all had two bedrooms each and one cold water tap. There was no bathroom and some only had an outside toilet. Little improvements were made on these houses until the Community House was set up.
Under the EEC Grant a pilot scheme began which initially involved major renovation work on six of the houses. The fact that this pilot project was undertaken can in some way be attributed to the House Committee (consisting of local residents) as they sent a number of delegations to lobby the Corporation to try to get the houses up to present day standards. This initial project was extended when bathrooms were added and houses were amalgamated to accommodate larger families.
A new Residents Association Committee was formed in 1996. Meetings were held with the Town Clerk and members of the Wexford Corporation to clarify what work needed to be completed on the houses at Wolfe Tone Villas. The Committee drew up plans on ways to improve the image of the Villas, i.e.
n General Appearance of the area
n Play area for children
n Refurbishment of houses
This is on-going work and we now work very closely with Wexford Borough Council and also with RAPID.
Updates on this group can be
viewed under the Women’s Group page. Watch this space!
Wolfe Tone Women’s Group Ltd:
Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Wolfe Tone Community House:
Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme
AIB Better Ireland Programme
I started work as a C.E. Supervisor here in Wolfe Tone Villas in July 2001, and my time here has been an enjoyable one. At present, we have 12 workers on the Scheme, however this number will be reduced to 11 in the coming weeks. During the past two years, a lot of training has been set up and implemented. This training has provided the individuals with confidence and self-esteem to progress into the employment sector.
The following is a list of training that has been provided:
· Health & Safety in the workplace
· Child Awareness
· Fire & Safety
· Adult Literacy
· Lawnmower Maintenance
· First Aid
· Compost Training
· Personal Development
· Budgeting/money management
· ECDL Certified
· NCVA Level 1 & 2
· Sewing/curtain making
We employ four environmental workers who help to maintain and keep Wolfe Tone Villas clean. They also run an excellent recycling project that seems to be the only one of its kind in Wexford. They have completed training in woodwork, maintenance of garden machinery and planting of flowers and are presently planning a composting project and waste management scheme. They have shown great leadership qualities in leading the rest of the community in these projects.
Three childcare workers are employed on the C.E. Scheme, which show great confidence in their work and take their position and responsibilities very seriously. One has just completed NCVA Level 1 and started Level 2 recently. Two other workers are waiting to commence NCVA Level 1. All three have completed and passed a First Aid course and they have participated in Personal Development and attend seminars and workshops regularly. The workers are also involved in after-school activities, homework club and Youth Club.
There are two caretakers employed with us who are responsible for the opening and closing and the up-keep of the house. They ensure that a high standard of cleanliness is maintained. Apart from their normal duties, these women have attended ECDL. Courses and passed each exam with flying colours. They have also attended first aid courses, personal development, woodwork, health and safety and many more.
We have a book-keeper/administration worker, who runs the office with super efficiency. She is responsible for all wages, bookwork and the general duties in the office. She has been trained in computerised and manual bookkeeping, which she passed easily.
Wolfe Tone is an area of high social needs and through careful planning and training workers have developed much needed skills in areas that are leading towards employment. Whilst the workers have not progressed into full time employment, some have gained part-time work, which is building their own self-confidence and is an encouragement to the other workers. The workers have become more confident with their abilities.
I believe that having a Fás scheme here at the Community House continues to be of vital importance. It provides employment for the local residents and invaluable on-going training for them, therefore providing them with the opportunity to improve their quality of life and progress confidently into the workplace. Over the yeas, it has proved itself as being central to the development of Wolfe Tone Villas.
Wolfe Tone Childcare Centre
Open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10am – 1pm.
Caters for: Children aged 2 – 5 yrs
Activities: Nursery Rhymes, storytelling, arts and crafts, jigsaws and games etc., and physical education etc.
The Playschool is situated at the rear of the Community House in a purpose built building and at the moment, caters for 13 children. A Childcare Worker is employed part-time by the Community House to run the school, with the support of the Community Employment Workers and a rota of mothers. It is open three mornings per week and gives parents the opportunity to participate in any training available while also helping the children develop their social skills in preparation for Primary School. The Project is funded by the S.E.H.B. and ADM.
Open: Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, from 2.30 – 3.30 for 6 – 7 yrs and 3.30 – 5.00 for 8 – 12 yrs
Caters for: Children aged 6 – 12 yrs
Activities: Homework supervision, outdoor games, arts and crafts etc.
The Community House runs the after school project three afternoons per week and facilitates approximately forty children at present. These are divided into three individual groups ranging from 5 – 12 years. There is one hour study supervised by teachers, followed by another hour of activities including outdoor activities, arts and crafts, games and cookery. A small donation goes towards the running costs of the project, which is relatively new. It relies on ad-hoc funding.
Open: Tuesday, from 11am – 1pm
Caters for: Children aged 1 ½ - 2 yrs
Activities: Social development, as well as physical development
Open: Thursday, from 7pm – 9pm
Caters for: 12 – 18 yrs
Activities: Group discussions, projects, and trips etc. Workshops, for example drug awareness, sexuality, personal development etc.
Open: Monday, from 6pm – 7pm
Caters for: 12 – 18yrs
Activities: Maths grinds for secondary school students. Free of charge.
We are planning to buy and renovate a house within the community of Wolfe Tone Vilas. Wexford Corporation has offered us a house for a childcare facility. This proposed new childcare centre will cater for all children of the area aged from 3 months up to 18 years.
Wolfe Tone Women’s Group Ltd.
The environmental sub-group came from a sub-group of the Women’s Group. The aim was to work with others to move the proposed environmental works.
The group was formed in July and began work in September. Since that time, the Environmental Group have:
n Had plans displayed in the Community House
n Lobbied local politicians, TDs and the Minister for the Environment
n Held sessions on lobbying in Wolfe Tone Community House
n Carried our surveys with all households in Wolfe Tone Villas on their views on proposed works
n Met with Wexford Borough Council Representatives
n Participated in RAPID Area Implementation Team through participation of members of Environmental Team.