Family Resource Centres (FRCs) were established by the Department of Social and Family Affairs to help combat disadvantage by supporting the functioning of the family unit. the centres provide services for lone-parent families, young mothers and others considered in need of extra support.
The Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF) is the representative body for the 107 FRCs located throughout Ireland. The aim of the Forum is to promote the work and represent the views of all FRCs nationally and provide practical support to centres in relation to their family and social inclusion initiatives.
DHR Communications has provided public relations, public affairs and secretariat support to the FRCNF since our establishment in 2004. We organise a number of major events for the Forum each year; provide ongoing advice on advocacy and media relations, and maintain the www.familyresource.ie website, in addition to managing other internal communications processes.
In 2011, we worked extensively with FRCNF to encourage Irish General Election candidates to pledge to support the work of the Family Resource Centre programme into the future. The campaign also incorporated a door-to-door postcard drop and correspondence with election candidates throughout the country. In total 222 candidates signed up for the pledge, including six current Cabinet Ministers and several Ministers of State.
During 2009, we worked extensively with the FRCNF on a public affairs and PR campaign arising from a recommendation made in the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (also known as the McCarthy / An Bord Snip Nua report) to cut funding for the FRC programme by 70 per cent. If this recommendation had been implemented, there would have been serious repercussions for the FRC programme: many of the FRCs throughout the country would have been forced to close, resulting not only in job losses but also in a significant weakening of support and services for families in disadvantaged communities.
Our work on the FRCNF campaign proved to be extremely effective: a large number of politicians pledged their support for the FRCs and called on the Government to ensure their survival after the budget. In addition, hundreds of newspaper articles and radio packages about the campaign were generated at both local and national level. Most importantly, in the budget announcement made on 9th December 2009, no changes were made to the FRC programme, and the 107 FRCs throughout Ireland continue to provide support and advice to families and communities.
For more information on the Family Resource Centre National Forum, please see www.familyresource.ie