My Department operates a number of community development support programmes, namely; the community development programme; the family and community services resource centre programme; the programme of funding to locally based community and family support groups.
The purpose of the above mentioned programmes is to provide seed money to enable community groups to pilot initiatives identified as meeting new and emerging needs. More specifically the aim of the family and community services resource centre programme is to help combat disadvantage by improving the functioning of the family unit.
Centres can provide special services for lone parent families, young mothers and others considered in need of extra support and can act as a first step to community participation and social inclusion for the most vulnerable and marginalised families.
In 1994, to mark the International Year of the Family, an allocation of £250,000 was made available to my Department to fund ten family resource centres on a pilot basis. The decision was motivated by the perception of a possible gap in statutory support for community development activities focused on support for families and tackling child poverty.