An appreciation to Christine Keegan, outgoing Manager of Wicklow Child & Family Project

Christine Keegan is retiring after 20 years serving as manager of one of Wicklow’s most invaluable services – The Wicklow Child & Family Project.

The Wicklow Child & Family Project celebrated their 20-year anniversary in Wicklow Town this year, allowing them to reflect on 20 years of invaluable assistance to children and families in need.

Christine has played a central role in the project since its inception, providing a much-needed resource to families and children going through a range of difficult experiences such as parenting, relationships, and feelings of distress, helpleness, and dealing with the sometimes overwhelming nature of family life.

Through thick and thin, Christine has gone to great lengths to ensure that their services are delivered to those who need them. Through recession, covid pandemics, and staff shortages, she has persisted and served as a true leader and light-bearer in the Wicklow community.

Her colleagues at the Wicklow Child & Family Project have prepared some words for Chrstine as she opens a new chapter in her life.

My first meeting with Christine was in January 2017 when I started as CEO of the company. From the very beginning it was clear that she would be a great sounding board and a key part of my Line Management team.

Over the years working with Christine, she has proven that and more besides. It is only when someone of her standing and calibre retires, you begin to properly realise the significant impact and legacy she is leaving behind her for families and communities in Wicklow town and environs.

She is very much a community driven person and works on the old maxim of “ takes a village to raise a child “ It is within the community of Wicklow Child & Family Project that she has supported children and their families to thrive beyond adversity that they are first with.

One of her key attributes (of which there are many!) is her capacity to engage with key stakeholders, including our funders to maximise resources, for families under the projects care. It has never been an easy task to engage and advocate effectively for the most vulnerable in our community. But Christine did this with compassion and grace knowing where she wanted to get to and it was always for those under the projects care.

She has engaged with a range of actors such as local and national representatives and agencies on a range of issues that needed to be address. She has correctly seen herself as an advocate for the most vulnerable as she sees first-hand the impact of her work and that of her team in giving families hope and a future.

No one was ever turned away from the service, if it was not WC&FP, Christine would always ensure they were signposted in the right direction. A conscientious, caring empathetic approach, respecting and treating every human who walked through the projects doors as a person. She has ensured that these values rippled through the project.  

At the 20 year celebration of the project in September, it was a huge accolade to all the work under the management of Christine and very fitting for her final year as Manager of WC&FP. All her colleagues past and present came to make the significant milestone and it was and is very much her work with the support of her team that has brought the project where it is today. We were also priviledged to have Minister Simon Harris as our key note speaker on the day.

One must remember that Christine is a person too with a wide and varied professional and personal live. Originally from Preston, she came to live in Kilcoole many years ago. She has raised her 4 children 2 boys 2 girls, currently has 5 beautiful grandchildren. Before becoming manager of the project she was the creche manager for VTOS at the back of the Dominican Convent in Wicklow town.

Over the years she has been part of many committees always showed a keen interest in the development of Wicklow and of children and families in the area

In terms of her own professional development, she studied to become a Psychotherapist, while working as manager of the project, which she graduated with flying colours.

Christine will be greatly missed within the project and also within County Wicklow Partnership. After 21 years, she is now ready for the next chapter and on behalf of the Board and Staff of the company we wish her and her family the very best for the future. I know the role will be in a safe pair of hands with her successor Jenny Smith. We wish Jenny the very best for the future and her team for the next stage in the projects development.

No amount of words can express our appreciation for the decades of commitment you have shown. You will always be with us Christine and you will never be a stranger to the project! We look forward to what your next plan develop!” ~ Annabelle Wright.

We thank Christine for everything she has done and wish her all the very best in her future endeavours.

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