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Focus on Ballybrack

Introduction: Volunteering in Ballybrack THERE were 3182 people living in the Ballybrack CDP catchment area in 2006 and the population is declining. Between 2002 and last year, the population decreased by 251 people or -7.3%. This is unusual for any part of Dublin, however Ballybrack – despite houses there selling for up to €500,000. Ballybrack consists of nine housing estates containing 920 homes, but as a community, it generally misses out on basic services and people have to travel to other neighbourhoods to shop, see a doctor, engage in sports and so on. The CDP is now up and running and hoping to change things for the better, as chairperson Brenda Creigton fellow-volunter Tanya Breen, and project co-ordinator, Tina Pomphrett, explained to ‘Changing Ireland’.

‘I volunteered out of curiosity’ Why volunteer? FIRST of all, out of curiosity. I had no understanding of what Community Development was about, it’s still sometimes a bit blurry to me. But Ballybrack had always missed out. It was left out of RAPID, for instance. And community services are rarely placed here. But the CDP proposal did look possible and I wanted to make sure it was supported. Did you do any voluntary work before this? I’d always been involved in summer projects, I was on the committee for summer camps for five years. I work part-time for the last two years with the Youth Services (Dun Laoighaire CYS) which works with young people aged 10 to 21. How local are you? I live across the road and I’ve three girls, aged 19, 16 and 13. Did you ever avail of community-based education yourself? I worked outside the home, then did nothing

Brenda Creighton, voluntary management chairperson

for a couple of years, but when the home-school liason teacher encouraged me, I did a personal development and assertiveness course. What paid work are you engaged in? Now I teach drug-education among primary school children. Some of that work is paid, some is voluntary. Name one problem here: The dual-carriageway cuts the community in half. It’s a community split by roads. What’s the most difficult thing about setting up a CDP? The amount of really good people that got fed up with the slow wheels of motion and dropped off the committee. Tina contacted them all (when the CDP was being launched) but they’d had enough. Are things getting better in Ballybrack? When I was aged 13, there wasn’t even a bus to Ballybrack. Now, we have a supermarket, church and primary school. And a CDP!

‘I don’t want this to fail’ Why volunteer? I was very nosy. I heard Brenda and another girl talking about it. I am the only person here who grew up their whole life in Ballybrack. Bar the summer projects, everything that came to Ballybrack went away again. Nothing ever lasted, it would always dwindle off. There are 920 houses here, but no local facilities. Is there anything for people to do in Ballybrack? Besides the youth services and the soccer club, that’s it here. What was it like when you were growing up? I was in Ballybrack Running Club years ago and we hounded the Council for a track . . . but we grew up while we were waiting for them to reply and the club folded. There’s a gravel track there now, alright.

changing ireland

Tanya Breen, voluntary management


What about facilities in neighbouring districts? Cabinteely GAA is within walking distance. Are you glad you volunteered with the CDP? I didn’t know what I was leaving myself in for. Sometimes I go home and say ‘I’m not going to do this anymore’, but who else is going to do it? And also, I don’t want it to fail like everything else did here. And, finally, in ten years time, we might see some of the benefits from the CDP’s achievements. What would you hope to see? I’d love to see the community work together because it is very divided, road by road. I hope in ten years time that the CDP is well-established, well-supported. We could be the catalyst for bringing all the services, agencies and projects into the area.

we hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office - aesop



Hot in Issue 21: MAIN STORY: BURNING SOCIAL ISSUES -'This place has changed my life big-time' (New Ross) - Report shows what CDPs actually d...


Hot in Issue 21: MAIN STORY: BURNING SOCIAL ISSUES -'This place has changed my life big-time' (New Ross) - Report shows what CDPs actually d...