Southill is an area in the south of Limerick, built up of four residential parks, O’Malley Park, Keyes Park, Kincora Park and Carew Park. In recent years, the area has been in the media spotlight due to its high crime rates, which is contributed to by gangland feuds, turf wars and high unemployment rates, leading to poverty in the area.
In 2009, President Mary McAleese officially opened the Southill Area Centre to enhance the lives of Southill's local residents. The centre provides a variety of facilities, including a handball alley and multipurpose sports hall.
Other facilities are also run, such as the Family Resource Centre Creche, The Limerick Youth Service, Southill After schools club and The Community Youth Work Team. Also, due to the problems that the area has experienced, the centre offers Outreach services. These include
1. Local Employment Service
2. Welfare Rights Officer
3. AlJeff Drug Treatment Agency
4. Educational Welfare Board
5. Limerick City Council (Housing Department)
Gardening classes are held in the Community Garden, as well as a Summer Camp, run for the Southside Community catering for 80 children for the month of July. The Community Café is a core aspect of the centre, providing meals for local residents and organisations using the centre , at minimum prices. The cafe provides a safe social space for residents to meet and have a healthy meal, in addition it has evolved as an informal contact between residents and some of the agencies that work with them. The ethos of the cafe is to provide a healthy balanced diet to the community.
Overall, the Centre has made life that little bit easier for locals, with the facilities and services now available to them , and in general brought a troubled yet tight community closer to a resolution.
Helena Halpin (11121882)