The Family Life Centre Boyle, begun in 1987 as a diocesan response to the needs of families. In the beginning, this was achieved by the provision of Parenting Courses. The people who participated in them were in turn trained to facilitate the courses. This was a major step in empowering people, giving them the chance to lead. Following this, a need identified was that of bereavement and loss. The first need that was addressed was for those who have lost a partner through death or separation. The Beginning Experience was brought to the West of Ireland, facilitators were trained and the programme was run and today it continues to be one of the busiest programmes. From listening to the people in the Community, those involved in the Centre and now also the base of volunteers it has become easier to identify the needs in the area and also to establish ways to meet these needs.
Volunteering is an extremely important part of the Centre. It is Community Development in action. People are encouraged to participate, to be involved and then they can be trained to lead and empowered to deliver.
Volunteering is the backbone of the Centre with most activities within the Centre being run in the like-to-like model. What this means is that people who have had similar experiences for example bereavement are trained to facilitate groups who are going through these experiences. In using this bottom-up approach the Centre can stay with the person and develop provisions which are what the Community wants.
Currently, there are 2 strands to the Family Life Centre:
- Family Resource Centre
- Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre.
The Centre published a book in 2007 details stories and history, this book is available from the Centre.