New Cullyhanna centre marks five years of Sure Start South Armagh

June 22, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

The official opening of Sure Start South Armagh’s new premises in Cullyhanna on Wednesday was one of a number of events aimed at celebrating the organisation’s fifth anniversary.

Members of Sure Start and officials from the Department of Education joined local elected representatives and teachers to formally open the new facility in the grounds of St. Patrick’s Primary School.

Week-long celebrations were planned to mark five years of the organisation and the launch of a new Department of Education-funded programme to deliver care for two-year-olds in the south Armagh area.

Conor McArdle, Project Co-ordinator said: “This has been a great week of celebration for everyone; staff, parents and children involved in Sure Start South Armagh. We are both marking our fifth year bringing quality early years services for children and families, but celebrating new initiatives such as the childcare programme that we are bringing to the south Armagh area.”

Reflecting on the success of South Armagh SureStart, Siobhan Fitzpatrick said: “Early Years are delighted to celebrate this milestone of South Armagh Sure Start .  Early Years was instrumental in establishing Sure Start in South Armagh having identified the need for innovative solutions to meet the care, health and education needs of children and families in rural areas.”

Fabulous resource

Speaking at the launch of Sure Start’s new Cullyhanna premises, Sinn Féin councillor Colman Burns praised all those who had been involved in getting the project off the ground.

“I am delighted that Sure Start has decided to open a centre in Cullyhanna to compliment services already operating in Crossmaglen, Bessbrook, Cloughrea and Newtownhamilton.  I was delighted to be able to help them through the planning stages of the project. This is a fabulous resource for children and parents in Cullyhanna and I wish to commend everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition. The only regret is that only twelve children will be accommodated in September. Had there been more spaces, they could have been filled twenty times over, such is the demand in this area.”

Mr Burns also praised the Department of Education for funding such initiatives, bringing together service providers from the statutory sector like health, social services and early education, as well as voluntary, private and community organisations and parents, providing much added value to the community.

This week also saw the opening of the new offices of Sure Start South Armagh in Camlough.