The Annual General Meeting of Longford based learning centre, St Christopher’s Services took place earlier this month at the Syliva Dawson Hall.
In their 48th year of service, those in attendance heard from General Manager Pat O’Toole on how the past number of years have been challenging ones for the group, but that 2012 in particular had been the most difficult, with cuts of 3.7 per cent to funding from the Health Service Executive (HSE) following last December’s budget.
These cuts amounted to a total of e380,000 to core funding which resulted in the reduction of adult respite services, the closure of their day service for three days per week, along with the further closure of some community houses on bank holiday weekends.
But despite budgeting constraints, St Christopher’s did report several positive developments in the past twelve months. These included the establishment of a new Resource Centre in Ballymahon in July, the extension at their facility, St Elizabeth’s in Edgeworthstown and the completion of their community house at Fostragh in Aughnacliffe.
Mr O’Toole announced that is also the intention of the group to refurbish a four-bed bungalow in Carragh, Granard. In order to carry out the refurbishment, St Christopher’s will apply for funds through the Department of the Environment’s Capital Assistance Scheme with work due to get underway in the new year.
Tributes were paid to those involved with the group who suffered bereavements in 2012. Margaret Kelly and Noel Neary were remembered, along with service users, committee members staff and volunteers who had suffered the loss of loved ones during the year.
Mr O’Toole also thanked the various fundraisers the club benefits from and appealed for new volunteers. He said: “No doubt each branch could do with some new blood and we appeal to the people in the various parishes across the county to become a member of your local St Christopher’s.” He noted the various events which were held in aid of the organisation, including the Longford Marathon and the Lenten Lunch. One of the highlights of the evening was the election of Mr Mel Donlon to Honorary Life President of the association in recognition of his years of commitment and dedication to St Christopher’s.
Finally, St Christopher’s have also announced that their staff pantomime, ‘Scrooge’ will take place this year on Friday, December 14th and Saturday 15th at the Backstage Theatre in Longford town. Contact the Box Office on 043-3347888 for further details and tickets.