At a conference in Maynooth on Saturday 5th October Fr Eamonn Treanor told the delegates, ‘We were invited by the national coordinator to form a group in Kilsaran parish, which would look at the area of drugs and alcohol and discuss what might be done to address these issues. A group was readily formed because of the perceived level of alcohol abuse and the probable use of illegal substances. We drew together a number of key people who had an interest in working on the issues and, under the direction of the IBDI coordinator, began to think about the whole area of drug/alcohol abuse and what a parish might do about it.
‘Having conducted an assessment of the local situation, the group set about identifying some of the needs, how it might meet those needs, gave itself a name and came up with a mission statement which reads:
CLICKS is a group of local people whose purpose is to help raise awareness and inform all sectors of the community, especially the youth, of the dangers associated with drugs, alcohol and other kinds of addiction.
Since then the group have established an alternative gathering place to the local licensed premises. ‘The members of CLICKS became aware of the need for information, and so the group has been engaged in ongoing formation to raise its own awareness, skills and knowledge. Best practice suggests not to take anything on without the necessary skills and qualifications; in this way a parish group can act as a conduit for statutory and voluntary agencies and promote the dissemination of information. Work has been carried out in Kilsaran, thanks to FÁS, on the old school, which has now been restored. Activities taking place in this venue include: coffee mornings, a bridge club, a youth club and various meetings, including a new Community Alert group. Al-Anon also plan to hold a regular group in this venue.’
‘Some achievements to date have been:
– Production and distribution of information leaflets.
– Organising Parent to Parent programmes.
– Making the premises available for alternate activities.
– Ongoing training in addiction in collaboration with the HSE addiction service.
– Needs assessment survey conducted in the area.
– Ongoing training in related areas: suicide and brief intervention etc.
– Promotion of the project at a local level.
– Regular meetings to assess progress and engage in planning.
– Building links with the Regional Drugs Task Force (RDTF) at regional cluster group level.
Current plans include:
- Design a website for CLICKS to be designed byt he youth of the parish
- Purchase a computer for use by the young people for this initiative and other safe projects
- Put together a display board in Stabannon
- Hold a family table quiz to raise funds for the project.
It is the intention of the Irish Bishops to develop the success of the pilot project and a manual has been developed to guide other parishes wanting to address the issue of drugs and alcohol in their local community. If you want any further information on the developments in Kilsaran you can contact Fr Eamonn or the CLICKS Group at the Parochial House.