Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte has officially opened a new respite service in Swords, developed by HSE Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin North City and County (CHO DNCC) Disability Services which offers up to 1,440 respite bed night opportunities for children.
Known as “The Hamlet”, the respite service is operated by The Talbot Group and will deliver short overnight respite breaks to children with disabilities and their families.
Minister Rabbitte was joined by CHO DNCC Chief Officer Mellany McLoone, Talbot Group CEO Laverne McGuinness, Adam Larkin and his mother Audrey who have availed of respite at the Hamlet, and staff representatives from CHO DNCC Disability Services and Talbot Group.
€5.5m was allocated through the Department of Health as part of the HSE 2021 National Service Plan for the delivery of nine new Respite Houses for children with disabilities in each of the Community Healthcare Organisations
The Hamlet in Swords will provide a much-needed respite break for children and families responding to need across the catchment area from Blanchardstown in West Dublin extending right across Swords, Coolock, Howth and its environs and north to Balbriggan.
Speaking at the official opening, Minister Rabbitte said: “I am keenly aware of the critical importance of respite for loved ones and families of those with a disability. During the Covid crisis, many services were forced to close or reduce capacity, and this was devastating for many people. It really identified the importance and value of services like respite for people with disabilities and their families.
“Respite is such a valuable resource for children with disabilities and families. I am determined to provide more. That is why I secured funding in the 2021 budget that allowed this wonderful centre to be opened this year. This is a positive and very welcome provision and I am sure that it will be greatly appreciated by families in the community. I recently published the Disability Capacity review which highlights that more respite centres are going to be required for people with disabilities and their families.
“This is why I made sure that an additional €9m will be provided in Budget 2022 to further build the capacity of our respite services in each CHO for children and adults, as well as providing alternative models of respite.
Audrey Larkin, mother of Adam who attends the respite service, said: “I cannot put into words how great having the Hamlet respite house is. It truly is life changing. It’s great to see him so happy to go to the house particularly after the Covid lockdown and be with his friends and the great staff there. It allows me to get a good night’s sleep knowing that Adam is safe and being cared for to the highest standard.”
Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin North City and County (CHO DNCC) Chief Officer Mellany McLoone said: “Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin North City and County is committed to the provision of respite facilities to support families in need and we look forward to working with agencies and Government to deliver similar facilities throughout our CHO in the future.
“The provision of respite care ensures that parents and families receive a break. The importance of these breaks for families cannot be underestimated and I have no doubt that the Hamlet will have a positive impact on hundreds of families who require their services.”
Laverne McGuinness, CEO of the Talbot Group said: “The Talbot Group is delighted to partner with the HSE in the development and delivery of this much-needed service. We believe a respite service is invaluable for both the children and their families. It provides the children with a great opportunity to meet and play with other children and to participate in other recreational and fun activities.
“The Hamlet, which means little village, will provide children with their own little village of children to mix and play with. A respite service is also very beneficial for the parents as it gives them a break from the demands of caring for a child who has a disability. The service opened in mid-September and so far we have received very positive feedback from parents.”