Festive cheer in Granard
One of Granard's undoubted succcess stories over the past two decades has been that of a locally based organisation set up to assist those on the Live Register.
Since its inception in 1995, Granard Area Action Group has successfully sponsored a wide range of Community Employment Schemes.
It's a term routinely banded about but sometimes not entirely understood.
Put simply, the Community Employment (CE) programme is designed to help people who are long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged people to get back to work by offering part-time and temporary placements in jobs based within local communities.
They sponsor local or community projects in Bunlahy, Mullinalaghta, Abbeylara, and Granard that meet an identified community need.
The project was closed from June to October, 2002 which at that stage saw Abbeylara Community Employment Project being amalgamated with Granard Area Action Group Ltd.
“The success of progression that we have reached has led to several former participants gaining full time employment in a wide range of occupations,” said a spokesperson.
“The contribution of the previous Community Employment projects both to the local economy and to the participants is beyond measure.”
During the previous projects, Granard Area Action Group have been instrumental in achieving a number of milestones, which have included the restoration of St. Joseph’s Hill, the development of Derrycasson Wood; the development of The Peace Park at Mullinalaghta; the enhancement of the areas with stone wall building as well as tree and shrub planting along approach roads to Granard, Abbeylara, Bunlahy and Mullinalaghta.
One of its most recent projects involved the site of the old hall in Abbeylara being developed into a sensory garden.
The provision of the very successful Information Office, at Main Street, Granard provides a computer script service; CV Preparation and Photocopying Service.
Outreach Services include Citizens Information every Thursday morning; MESA on the last Monday of each month; MABS visit each Monday morning or by appointment.
There is a wide selection of tourist information available, both local and national; application forms for driving licences; driver theory tests; motor tax renewal forms and many other application forms.
The administration participants on Community Employment Project have been trained in Front Office Management and Customer Care Skills to boot. Some have completed TAS and Sage Book – Keeping Systems.
The Adult Learning Centre provides literacy tuition in a supportive environment for the participants who need support with their reading, writing, maths or spelling.
Literacy tuition helps them to improve their listening and speaking skills, and enables them to employ everyday technology to communicate and handle information.
The participants acquire more than just the technical skills of communication (reading, writing and spelling): the personal, social and economic dimensions empower the individual to reflect on their situation, explore new possibilities and initiate change.
Certification is available in both single modules and full certificates.
The service is free and is offered on a one-to-one basis or in small groups depending on the individual needs.
Classes are available in locations and at times suited to the participants.
Granard Area Action Group work collaboratively with other organisations such as Rath Mhuire & Dolmen Resource Services and Lus Na Greine Family Resource Centre.
Rath Mhuire & Dolmen Resource services is also a community based organisation in North Longford, where one of their main areas of work involves establishing closer ties with older people. The aim of the service is to maintain and support, the dignity, quality of life and independence of older people.
One of Granard's most treasured facilities is its Lus Na Greine Family Resource Centre.
Working with families and individuals, Lus Na Greine offers support, information and focuses on the needs of the community.
At the end of November 2016, Granard Area Action Group Ltd changed their company name to that of Granard Area Action Group CLG (Company Limited by Guarantee).
The current Community Employment Project has been very successful to date with a total of 2 Supervisors and 32 participants on board and it is hoped to continue this success into 2018.
From the evidence of what it has achieved to date, there's every chance that aspiration will become lasting reality into the new year.
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