Extern is a voluntary organisation that provides services to children, young people and their families in Ireland. Services operate across the Island of Ireland, but in Limerick they provide support to over 100 young people and their families every year from the Mid West. Extern is registered as a charity with the Revenue Commission and in the Mid West area funding comes through service level agreements with the Health Service Executive, more recently Tusla – the Child and Family Agency, the Limerick City & County Council and the Irish Youth Justice Service.
Their mission is to help people to improve their lives and make their communities safer.
They have been working with families in the Mid West areas since March 2004. The Services offered in this area are called Janus & Time Out Project – an intensive support programme with elements of individual, group and family support on a planned or responsive basis and the Garda Youth Diversion Project – providing diversionary interventions on the Southside of Limerick City. Referrals are received directly from local social work teams, the Young Person’s Probation, the National Education Welfare Service, and Gardaí Siochana and from community agencies. The children and families availing of our service may require support at home, in school, or within their community. They are proud to work with children and families and think that what they do really makes a difference to the lives of everyone we work with.
“I don’t think we would’ve got through the last eight months the way things were. Extern was the only support we had. They saved our daughter and they may well have saved a family”. (Parent)
“I appreciate what everyone’s done for me and all the support and courage to make me blossom, and it’s (Extern) changed me into such a different person”. (Young person, age 14)
Celebrating 10 years this year holds such nostalgia and excitement for the Limerick team, as it does for the entire cohort of Extern staff in Ireland. Back in 2004 the Limerick service was in the early stages of development, bringing new staff on board, sourcing and setting up new office space, and getting to know their local stakeholders and communities. Over the last 10 years, the team have grown from strength to strength, continuously developing and learning. What they have achieved in terms of quality service provision is something to be proud of!
“I would say to anyone who is offered a place in the Janus programme to take it. The staff are incredible and very understanding. They are great at helping us with our problems and also having some fun every now and then.” (Young Person, 2013)
Young people from their project were already involved in the recent Limerick Urban Horse Project an initiative designed and developed by Limerick Corridor Art project in association with Limerick City of Culture 2014 and so in order to celebrate their 10 Year Anniversary a number of exciting events are been planned including the launch of a booklet of memories covering the 10 years and to end the celebrations they have planned a huge celebration event for all their young people and their families, in a Limerick venue.
“Extern is family friendly and specific to the needs of the child and the needs of the family. They (Extern staff) work out what’s best for everybody and really bend over backwards to help so that’s really appreciated”. (Foster carer)
Today, in 2014, they have a lot to celebrate. A decade has passed since Extern first began in the Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary areas – there have been many achievements, and over 4,000 children and families have benefitted from their Service to date. They look forward to the next 10 years, and the continued provision of quality, innovative support to local children and their families.
For more info email Mike Walsh at [email protected] or call 061 457222.