FRCs are located within a community-based model of family support and this model is at the heart of the Programme. The centrality of community development in informing the approaches, values and methods underpinning the work of FRCs is a defining feature of their contribution. A further defining characteristic of FRCs is that they are managed by local voluntary management committees, which are critical in facilitating meaningful participation within communities and in ensuring local knowledge and accountability.1 FRCs have an open door policy.
A central feature of the FRC programme is the involvement of local people in identifying needs and developing needs-led responses. FRCs are participative and empowering organisations that support families while building the capacity and leadership of local communities. FRCs provide a range of universal and targeted services and development opportunities that address the needs of families.2
- The provision of information, advice and support to target groups and families. Information concerning the range of services and development options available locally and advice on accessing rights and entitlements is also extended. FRCs act as a focal point for onward referrals to main stream service providers.
- Delivering education courses and training opportunities.
- The establishment and maintenance of new community groups to meet local needs and the delivery of services at local level (for example, childcare facilities, after-school clubs, men’s groups, etc.)
- The provision of counselling and support to individuals and groups.
- Developing capacity and leadership within communities.
- Supporting personal and group development.
- Practical assistance to individuals and community groups such as access to information technology and office facilities.