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St Johnston & Carrigans
Donegal

SOCIAL SERVICES

In 1963, the County Medical Health Officer expressed a concern to Nurse Rita Pearson about the need for welfare services for senior citizens belonging to the St Johnston and Carrigans area. 

A group got together in response to this in St Johnston in 1966 and formed the Social Services committee.  Nurse Pearson called a meeting in the St Johnston No 1 School and so the group and committee were formed as a result. 

They held the first Social Services Christmas Party that year in St Baithin’s  National School, Blue Ball, St Johnston.  The Christmas party has been held every year since.  In later years, Friel's Hotel in Raphoe was used.  Then when the Resource Centre opened the Christmas Party was held there since.

The Social Services Annual Summer outing first took place in 1967 and has continued to recent times. 

Members of the Committee went to Drumcondra Football Club to see how the Dublin Meals on Wheels system was implemented and decided to seek funding from Donegal County Council towards  establishing a similar system in the St Johnston and Carrigans area.  The funding was granted and Meals on Wheels began.  Meals on Wheels takes place twice a week to this day. A container was made for the storage of food as it got delivered and there were drivers and cooks.  One time there was a snowstorm and a tractor was used to deliver the food.

Home and hospital visits and a laundry service was introduced. 

A Variety Concert was held in the Main Hall, St Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre, on Wednesday 30 August 2006 starting at 7.00 pm to mark the fortieth anniversary of St Johnston Social Services.  An ecumenical blessing was given by Rev Brian Brown, Canon David Crooks and Monsignor Dan Carr.  There was about 170 people in attendance.

A buffet was provided by Frankie Duddy and Mrs Kathleen Rodgers.  And the MC was Mr Ian McCracken assisted by Leslie Mathews who provided some songs.  The artists on the evening were Leslie Matthews, the traditional musicians the McDaid family with Brendan Coll, Irish Dancing by Niamh Lynch, Line Dancing by Sonya Duddy and Gemma and Michaela her daughters.  Robert Allen and Thomas Curran also provided the music.  Thomas Curran had been playing the music at the Christmas parties for nearly twenty-three years.  Miss Kay Shannon presented a slide-show of days gone by.

Tommy Peoples, the popular and well-known fiddler, played as did Thomas Strain.  John Gamble and Jean McCready sang.  Bobby McNulty entertained the audience by playing the bagpipes.  A good night was had by all.

The St. Johnston and Carrigans Social Services Annual General Meeting was held in the St Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre in January 2007.

The new committee is has follows Chairperson – Canon David Crooks, Secretary – Stephen Mc Namee, Treasurer- Sheila Mc Causland, Committee Members- Father Carr, Ruth Brogan, Sarah Hunter, Christine Brogan, Kay Russell, and Joy Porter.

Denise Wilson remains as administration support for the committee which she has been doing for a number of years.

On the night of the AM three long term committee members decided to retire from their duties. Mrs Pearl Millar, Mrs Daisy Campbell and Miss Kay Shannon who between the three of them has marked up over 70 years service to the community stepped down from the committee.

These three ladies gave considerable time and dedication to the community over the years and have supported the St. Johnston and Carrigans Social Services fully. As a mark of appreciation the existing committee gave them a small presentation to mark their retirement from the committee. The presentation however was only a gesture as the work that was done by these ladies is by far greater than words or gifts can measure and whilst the committee wishes them well in their retirement, they will be greatly missed.
The committee also wishes Mrs Campbell a speedy get well after her recent illness.

At the same time Mrs. Carol Mc Crossan stepped down from the committee after 3 years. Carol was a very active member of the committee and she too will be greatly missed.

On 21 May 2009, a Supper Dance was held in the St Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre.  Music was by Edward and James and 1200 Euro was raised.  Brendan Wilson presented the cheque to Mabel Porter on behalf of the local social services committee.

2016 marked the 50th Anniversary of Social Services in the St Johnston and Carrigans region. In 1963, the County Medical Health Officer expressed a concern to Nurse Rita Pearson about the need for welfare services for senior citizens belonging to the St Johnston and Carrigans area. A group got together in response to this in St Johnston in 1966 and formed the Social Services committee. Nurse Pearson called a meeting in the St Johnston No 1 School, Church Lane, St Johnston and so the group and committee were formed as a result. They held the first Social Services Christmas Party that year in St Baithin’s National School, Blue Ball, and St Johnston. The Christmas party has been held every year since. In later years, Friel's Hotel in Raphoe was used. Then when the Resource Centre opened the Christmas Party has been held there since. Members of the Committee went to Drumcondra Football Club to see how the Dublin Meals on Wheels system was implemented and decided to seek funding from Donegal County Council towards establishing a similar system in the St Johnston and Carrigans area. The 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert had a wealth of local entertainment opened by Leslie Matthews. Leslie was joined through the evening by other local singers such as Rosie Rodgers, Cara Bovaird and Joe Bovaird. We also had poetry read by Charlotte Watson and she did a rendition of The Ballad of "Wee Willie & Big Mary" by Brian Rankin and had the audience captivated and in roars of laughter. There was also 50th Celebration cake which was cut by retired Nurse Rita Pearson who responsible all those years ago for getting the Meals on Wheels service going.