THE sunshine matched the mood of the day when the new Little Acorns Children’s Centre was officially opened in Brickens. Mayo TD Dara Calleary, Minister for Labour Affairs, presided at the ceremony. The superb new facility currently caters for 53 children.
The hugely impressive centre is truly a blessing to the local community and provides exceptional facilities in the heart of this rural region where south and east Mayo come together. The hard-working committee, under the guidance of chairperson Martina Keadin, had prepared well for their big day. One could not be but impressed by what has been achieved in Brickens.
Located on the lands of the late Mickey Kelly, the official sod turning for the new venture took place back in 2006. Fr Patrick Mullins, PP, presided at the blessing ceremony and joined in the good wishes to all associated with this wonderful facility in Brickens.
Minister Calleary said he was delighted to have the honour of cutting the tape for the official opening. This was a very special day for all associated with the venture and all could share in that feeling of community pride. He also thanked Senator John Carty for his help in securing funds for the venture in the early stages.
Local councillor John Cribbin, Cathaoirleach of Mayo Co Council, said the Little Acorns Centre was a marvellous addition to the region and he joined in the words of congratulations to everyone who had helped bring the project to fruition and all associated with the current operations at the centre.
Martina Keadin, chairperson, thanked Minister Calleary for performing the official opening and Fr Patrick Mullins for blessing the centre. She also welcomed all the public representatives in attendance.
Martina had special words of thanks for the contractor, Michael Byrne and his staff, who did such a fine job in the construction of the premises. She also thanked Jim Power and the Mayo Childcare Committee and the HSE for their help, Brickens IRD for donating the site, and Brendan McHugh for providing the fill to bring the site up to level of construction.
“I also want to thank our engineer Eugene Waldron and Waldron Associates for the fantastic plans and lay-out both inside and out. A special thanks to Eugene for all the help he gave us from start to finish. Thanks also to Mary Teresa Brennan, manager of Lohan Park Group Home for the use of the office and computer and for accommodating all the meetings. Thanks to Sean Cleary, Jack Moore and the hall committee for the cad games they held for us and to the various committees in the community who helped us through the years with fund-raising and indeed the whole community who have always given so generously to our fund-raising efforts,” said Martina.
She also thanked all the former committee members for their time and dedication through the years and the staff and volunteers who worked in the playschool in the Community Centre. She concluded: “This is a wonderful purpose-built centre and well done to our manager Ann Halligan and all the staff who work here.”
Other speakers included Ann Halligan, manager of the Little Acorns Centre, and Joanne Doherty from the Childcare Services, both of whom lauded the sense of community that is prevalent in the Brickens area, and also referred to the marvellous facility now in place for the children of the district.
Also present were Mayo TDs John O’Mahony and Beverley Flynn, Senator John Carty and Cllr Tom Connolly. Members of the committee hosted a lovely reception on the premises after the official ceremony.
Little Acorns is surely a trend-setter and a facility that provides exceptional care and quality to the children of the region. All associated with this superb venture can truly take a well deserved bow.