Visits for grant applications are always educational and inspiring. On occasions, I will invite a colleague with me and we often come out of these visits feeling moved by the great work that goes on. It is this and the potential to do even greater work that inspires The Hospital Saturday Fund to do more.
Catholic Institute for Deaf People visit on 2nd May 2018
Mia Shepherd (Account Executive) and I visited St Joseph’s House, which is part of the Catholic Institute for Deaf People (CIDP) in Dublin, to assess a grant application assisting their clients to live in the Community.
The Catholic Institute for the Deaf was established as a charitable institution in 1845. In 2007, the name was changed to the Catholic Institute for Deaf people. The Charity provides enabling services to the Deaf Community and CIDP focuses on the areas of education, care and pastoral work. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin is the President of the Charity and appoints the Board members.
St Joseph’s House is a unique residential community for deaf and deaf-blind adults, the only one of its kind in Ireland. The Charity is based at an historical listed building and grounds in Stillorgan, South County Dublin. St Joseph’s 36 residents come from all over Ireland and enjoy a full and active community life supported by a range of professional staff, trained in Irish Sign Language. CIDP provides supported accommodation, care and advice to residents, including temporary respite and palliative care. Residents vary in terms of their level of dependency and they range in age from 29 to 94, and some of the residents may also suffer from dementia. While some residents live independently in supported accommodation, many residents require greater care as they have a higher level of dependency. Therefore, CIPD provides an essential and unique service to a diverse group of residents.
We met Declan Kenny, Financial Controller, Linda Tierney, Service Transformation Manager, Geraldine Gallagher, Director of Care and Jasmin Echavez, Clinical Manager. Geraldine gave us a tour of St Joseph’s House and explained that, due to the nature of being both deaf and blind a number of her residents had been staying in the same room for many years as it can take up to 8 weeks for a deaf-blind person to adapt to new surroundings. I was very impressed by Geraldine and her passion for her clients. She showed us a training course that was being taught by the Garda to help residents become more confident in the outside world and a cookery-training course, which potentially, the Hospital Saturday Fund could support.
The aim of this very detailed application is to improve the life of people living in extremely difficult circumstances, which include being deaf and/or blind, and perhaps suffering from dementia. First and foremost, Mia and I felt that the residents were really enjoying their cookery course and Geraldine felt very passionately that this could lead to greater independence for some residents in the wider community.
Central Remedial Clinic visit on 2nd May 2018
Cathal Nolan, Mia Shepherd and I visited the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) in Clontarf, Dublin, to assess a grant application for their Summer Project. I had visited this project in 2017 and the Hospital Saturday Fund had made a grant of €5,000 at that time to support the CRC Summer Camp.
CRC has been providing services for children and adults with disabilities since April 1951, when Lady Valerie Goulding and Kathleen O’Rourke set up the Central Remedial Clinic. They were responding to the needs of children and adults who were left with disabilities after an outbreak of poliomyelitis in Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s. The first Clinic was a small non-residential treatment centre in a house in Upper Pembroke Street in the heart of Dublin.
In 1954, CRC had sufficient funds to move to Goatstown, just south of Dublin city centre. In those early years, the Charity’s emphasis was to provide medical support and physiotherapy for children and adults. In 1968, CRC opened a purpose-built facility in Vernon Avenue, Clontarf. This is now CRC’s main headquarters and administrative base.
As polio has largely disappeared, the role of the Clinic has gradually changed. What was once a one-room clinic with two patients is today the largest organisation in Ireland for people with physical disabilities. CRC provides a full range of services to over 4000 people with disabilities throughout the country; supporting their families and carers. The Charity also has branches in Limerick and Waterford. In the Dublin area, CRC provides children’s services in Clondalkin and Clontarf, as well as day services for adults with disabilities in centres in Coolock, Firhouse and Hartstown.
We met Aoife Timothy, Principle Social Worker, Ziva Newman, Head of Fundraising, John Wire Coordinator of the Summer Project and Conor Dillon, an intern and former attendee of the Summer Project.
Ziva gave us a tour of the Clontarf Centre which is quite extensive, with impressive facilities for their children. The Centre has been improved since my visit in 2017 with better facilities such as a coffee shop and a very impressive electric swing for adults and children using wheelchairs.
Aoife and Ziva gave a presentation about CRC and the importance of the summer camp. The Charity wants to run two summer camps in 2018, which will provide respite care for 100 children at Clontarf and 65 children at Clondalkin. The camps will last for two weeks and the largest cost is staff and volunteers. The Project requires 25 staff and 40 volunteers per summer. The total cost of the camps is €74,553. The Hospital Saturday Fund has received good feedback from the CRC regarding last year’s grant, for a project that supported 113 children over the course of the four-week summer camps in 2017.