Ever since its opening in 2001, the St. Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre has been a gift that keeps on giving to the local community.
Between the education and training opportunities it offers, the health and social services it provides, the groups and activities it facilitates, and the countless small acts of kindness it undertakes, the Centre has played a key role in building a shared sense of community among members of the two border towns.
So much so that a new 200-plus page book entitled “An Open Door: Stories From St. Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre” which is filled with photos and writings by dozens of community members about the positive role that the Centre has played in their lives can be seen as a beautiful gift which the community has given to the Centre in return.
“In each story there is a common thread of sentiments which are tinged with a real sense of being a part of something really special and feeling really glad to have played some part of what was and is a significant part of the history of St. Johnston and Carrigans and the lives of the people living here,” centre Manager Mary Crossan said at the recent launch of the book.
Other community members who spoke at the launch included BBC journalist Enda McClafferty; Ian McCracken, Mabel Porter, and Geraldine McNamee, who is also the editor of “An Open Door”; and Amanda Coyle, the Centre’s caretaker, who read aloud from a story she contributed to the book entitled “Lucky Me” about her work there.
The book, which is available at St. Johnston and Carrigans FRC and shops in the area for 10 euros, features contributions by 65 individuals. It was Geraldine McNamee who several years ago suggested the idea of creating a book to mark the Centre’s tenth anniversary in 2011. “Part of the plan for the book was to bring in as many groups as possible for a night to the Centre and find as many stories as we could and get as many people as possible involved, as well,” she wrote in her contribution to the book.
While the project extended beyond its original time-frame, the book is now a welcome reality thanks to Geraldine’s tremendous efforts and the assistance of an editorial team including Deirdre Browne, Kevin Browne, Peter Doherty, Patrick Gormley, Sarah Hunter, Mary Kerr, Carol McCrossan, John McCrossan, and Stephen McNamee.