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Kids’ homework club in a class of its own

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A ‘homework club’ for asylum-seeker children living in direct provision has seen noticeable improvements since its establishment, but is appealing for more volunteers to continue its good work.

The St Vincent de Paul, through its Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre, set up the club seven months ago to help children better integrate into the Irish education system.

“We noticed through parents coming in that there was little work being done for these children, who had difficulty getting schoolbooks and doing homework,” says Croí na Gaillimhe’s manager Loretta Needham.

“Children may have been pulled out of schools in their home country and here they enter into a completely different curriculum with a different language.”

The club, which is run solely by volunteers, was set up through the Maureen O’Connell fund [the proceeds of the sale of O’Connell’s in Eyre Square] and runs in the former Eglinton Hotel in Salthill four days a week.

“The Eglinton has very kindly donated the space to the homework club, as there isn’t a proper place for children to study or do their schoolwork.

“Some may be in a single room with as many as six people and would need to have great concentration to be able to study in those conditions.”

The club currently has 23 volunteers, ranging in age from early 20s to late 70s, who are signed up until the end of term.

Many are former teachers who have used their years of experience to help students in need of educational support.

“Teachers have indicated there has been a noticeable improvement in the students’ academic performance,” says Cabrini McDaid, coordinator of the homework club.

“Perhaps even more importantly, we’ve seen an increase in the children’s self-esteem.”

On average 25 children and young adults ranging from ages five to 17 attend the club Monday to Thursday from 3-7pm.

A formal survey of teachers in schools the children attend has been undertaken, and information will be collated over the summer to gain a better understanding of the impact the homework club is having on their progress.

About 300 asylum seekers from Nigeria, Albania, Pakistan, Iran and other countries are housed in the city at the Eglinton Hotel and the Great Western direct provision centre in Eyre Square.

The homework club is now actively seeking volunteers for the new term in September and would particularly welcome current or retired teachers.

Anyone interested in volunteering is urged to contact Croí na Gaillimhe at 091 895203 or by emailing info@croinagaillimhe.ie.

Connacht Tribune

Development hailed as major boost in tackling local housing demand

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Artist’s impression...the proposed Claregalway housing development.

The green light has been given to a sizeable residential development in Claregalway, which was the subject both of strenuous opposition and support in the area.

An Bord Pleanála have granted planning permission for 111 houses and apartments in Claregalway following a strategic housing development application by K King Construction for the development at Lakeview, Claregalway.

Local councillor David Collins (FG) welcomed the decision saying that there was an urgent need for new housing in Claregalway given the demand.

And he also paid tribute to developer Walter King for offering land for the development of community facilities to the local area.

“We need the houses and we need the land so this decision satisfies Claregalway on both fronts,” Cllr Collins added.

The Athenry Oranmore area councillor also said that requirement that a certain number of houses be reserved for Irish speakers was also a boost to developing the language in the area – Claregalway is part of the Gaeltacht.

The higher planning authority ruled that the proposed development would constitute an acceptable residential density at this location and was also acceptable in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety.

They also said that the site could be drained satisfactorily and that surface water would not be an issue.

The site for the development measures over twelve acres in size and is located at the junction of the Lydican Road about three quarters of a mile from the village off the main Oranmore road.

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Connacht Tribune

Carna’s Community Café raises a cuppa – and funds – for new Ukrainian arrivals

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Carna Community Café volunteers presenting a cheque to Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director Niall O'Meachair (third from right); pictured are (from left) Máirín Ní Churraion, Kate Mulkerrins, Siobhán Kennedy, Tom Lane and Máire Ní Domhnaill.

Carna’s new Community Cafe has donated €1,000 to the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal – thanks to the village’s love of tea, cake, and a good old chat.

The brainchild of a group of sea-swimming enthusiasts living in the area, the weekly café started just before Easter as a way to help people begin socialising again after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Looking to simply cover costs – with the café’s bakers and servers all volunteering and charging just a euro for a cup of tea or a piece of cake – the team decided any excess income would be donated to charity.

Little did they know that just five weeks later they would be passing on €1,000 to the Red Cross.

“The aim initially wasn’t to raise money at all, we just wanted to provide a friendly, welcoming and affordable place where people could come and have a chat and see each other again,” said Máirín Ní Churraoin, who runs the local Post Office.

“But it’s been proving more popular than we could have imagined, so we decided that any income generated has to go to a good cause – for this first donation we all felt the Red Cross Ukraine appeal was an obvious choice.”

The Ukraine appeal is even more fitting given the location of the Café: the dining room of the Carna Bay Hotel, which is currently providing accommodation to people who have fled the conflict.

“We’re delighted to be able to support this fantastic initiative, it’s just brilliant to see people coming out and socialising over a bit of cake again,” said Karl Rogers from the Carna Bay Hotel.

“And with the tea, musicians and chat, it’s a great way for our guests from Ukraine to meet local people and experience Irish culture first-hand.”

At the most recent event on Saturday May 7th, Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director, Niall O’Meachair was on hand to collect a cheque for €1,000.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive this money from the Community Café in Carna, and through the work of the Red Cross we’ll make sure it goes to helping people affected by this awful, awful conflict.”

The Community Café is held every Saturday in the Carna Bay Hotel, 10am to 12:30pm.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Old stone-carved bank sign to be retained after community lobby

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Deputy Sean Canney outside the old Bank of Ireland building at Shop Street in Tuam.

An old stone carved sign on the front of a former bank building in the heart of Tuam is to be retained, following intense representations from the local business community.

The building is currently being renovated by the Department of Social Protection which is moving into the property over the coming months

Galway East TD Sean Canney received confirmation from the Department that the red brick building on Shop Street will retain the old Bank of Ireland name.

The Bank of Ireland was originally located at Shop Street in Tuam before moving to its current location at Dublin Road several decades ago.

The building on Shop Street was then occupied by the town library, which has since moved to the local Council offices, and now it is being renovated so that it can be occupied by the Department of Social Protection.

During the renovations of the old library building on Shop Street to make way for the new Intreo Centre, which brings together various social welfare services, the old stone carved sign was revealed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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