Projects Updates

Healthy Church Training completes Year 1

On 23rd May we completed the final Healthy Church training day of the academic year.  These training days, led by highly experienced facilitators, seek to equip church leaders to more effectively address HIV and other health issues within their congregations.

In the last year we have trained over 50 leaders who engage with tens of thousands  of congregants across the country.  Their churches are generally migrant-led and originate in a range of Sub-Saharan African countries. We have also trained the leaders of some multiethnic churches – those in which the leadership team as well as the congregation is multiethnic.

Through the year our team have learnt an enormous amount about training in an intercultural context in which the themes of health, faith and integration interact. We will be spending the next few months completing evaluations and writing up and collating our training materials in preparation for 2015-16.

To read more about how the first half of our academic year went check out our Annual Report.

A big thank you to the Lucan Centre for hosting us over the past year.  We have also worked with groups of leaders in smaller geographical areas such as the North East Inner City of Dublin where we work in partnership with Acts of Compassion Project.

Keep an eye out for announcements of our next round of training in August.

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New dates for Healthy Church training


25th April is now fully booked. Places are available for 23rd May but will fill up fast.

We are delighted to announce new dates for our Healthy Church training. These training days, led by highly experienced facilitators, seek to equip church leaders to more effectively address HIV and other health issues within their congregations.

On Saturday 25th April and Saturday 23rd May (both 10:00am-4:30pm) we will host two identical training days. Both will take place at the Lucan Centre, Dublin.

For more details and to register please contact Richard Carson richard(dot)c(at)acet(dot)ie



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Stories of Belief from LGBT Christians

As part of our fedgling Project Emmaus, we are delighted to announce this upcoming symposium for church leaders:

Stories of belief from LGBT Christians 

 Saturday 7th March, 10am-3pm, Trinity College Dublin Chaplaincy. Lunch will be provided.

 The contemporary discussion about LGBT lives and stories in Ireland is often centred: 

a) on the upcoming referendum 
b) on whether or not LGBT people are a threat to marriage, the family and children. 
However, this upcoming event will explore some of the underlying themes, beliefs and stories in our current debate, the human cost of discussions about the causation and cure of being gay, as well the other side of contemporary discussions on the consequences of legitimising LGBT people in all aspects of society, inclusion and leadership. 
Our time together will include:
  • Hearing stories
  • Theological exploration
  • Group Discussion
  • Learning how to hear each other well. 
  • Practising the art of listening. 

Facilitators include:

Poet, theologian and group worker, Pádraig Ó Tuama is the team leader at the Corrymeela Community. His book of prose and poetry, In the Shelter, is published by Hachette Ireland and is available in all good bookshops.

Richard Carson is the Chief Executive of ACET Ireland and has 15 years experience training on the interactions of faith, sexual health and sexuality around Ireland and in 13 other countries around the world, including through an award-winning Masters degree in Trinity College Dublin. 

 This event is part of a fledgling project of ACET Ireland which explores the interface of LGBT and faith issues and is funded by the LGBT Communities Fund of the Community Foundation of Ireland. It is being held in partnership with the Corrymeela Community and the TCD Methodist Chaplaincy.

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World AIDS Day – Close the Gap

Check out this guest blog post by Richard Carson for VOX magazine on the occasion of World AIDS Day 2014:

Planning events for the last few World AIDS Days has generated an interesting dilemma for those of us working in the sector. The quandary is that, on the one hand, the brand of “World AIDS Day” remains popular with the general public. While, on the other hand, the good news emerging is that the annual day’s title is increasingly becoming an inaccurate description…..Continue reading.

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2015: Looking Forward

We closed out 2014 visiting with clients and client families and offering practical support in the form of Christmas hampers. What has been striking about the start of the New Year is the need for many people to talk, reflect and take the necessary time to refocus before moving forward in to 2015. It is at this critical moment ACET care staff spend time planning and discussing with clients how we can continue to support them with ongoing needs while also establishing new goals in areas including health, finances and family relationships. While we look forward to seeing what 2015 holds for our care work we recognise that it is these times of transition which often act as a reference point as challenges emerge in the months that follow. With this in mind our work will prioritise this time allowing it to frame care strategies as we wait to see how the year unfolds.

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Happy Days: Summer Project

Cavan Trip July2014 137

It’s hard to believe that the summer is already over and the kids have gone back to school!  But as we look back over the summer youth project, it’s great to be able to say that there were many gems to take from the time and activities we spent with them.  We had lots of God-given opportunities to walk alongside them and explore various needs, hopes, dreams, and positives in each of their lives, as well as have a bit of fun and make great memories with their peers.

The activities included trips out to Bray (for beach picnics and rock-skipping fun), Adventure Golf, ‘Manicures & Milkshakes’ day with the teenage girls, Aquatic Centre, cinema and Sea-Life.

We had a fantastic opportunity to bring one of our biggest groups yet of young people and their families to Cavan Centre for a residential trip in beautiful, sunny July for a multitude of activities and some unforgettable moments together.

The summer proved to be an essential time for really journeying with each young person in where they are in their own lives, as well as being able to link in with their families more as a result.  It laid a great foundation for the continuing youth & family care work and we will continue to assess and review what the best care support would look like for each young person in the months ahead.  More than anything, it was a privilege and blessing to share some laughs and special memories with these amazing young people, and to be allowed insight into their lives and how we might be able to support them.

A big thank you to CDYSB, Crosscare and Trinity Church coffee bar for their funding and support of this project.

If you’re interested in supporting this aspect of our work through finances or prayer (or both!), please contact us below to find out how to get involved.  If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for future youth activities, you can also contact us to find out more details about upcoming volunteer training.

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Healthy Church Training


At the end of July, twelve church leaders from around Ireland gathered at the Lucan Centre for our Healthy Church event as part of Project Hope. The goal was to address health issues within our faith communities with a particular focus on the challenges that migrants to Ireland face in relation to overcoming barriers to health. In line with ACET’s ethos, the approach of the training was to explore the possibilities of raising a culture of empathetic listening in our faith communities rather than just passing on information or skills.  By focussing on areas such as HIV and mental health we sought to equip the leaders with all they need to bring about such change. In our post-event evaluation 100% of participants agreed that the members of their church would benefit from their leaders attendance at the event.

We are grateful to Prof. Adebola Adedimeji of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York for his support and expertise. Prof Adedimeji will continue to research this area so look out for publications in peer-reviewed journals in the near future. In addition, Vivienne Murtagh of ACET brought her gifted training and facilitation skills to the event, while Juliet Amamure of Diaspora Women’s Initiative added a profound personal touch to ensure that we remained focussed on who we are serving.  We are grateful to the Global Health Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the PA Foundation and Dublin City Council for their support. We are excited about entering the next phase of Project Hope with the support of Community Foundation Ireland and the MAC AIDS Fund.

Here’s what some of the participants had to say afterwards:

“The emphasis on building a culture of empathetic listening was the best part. I really benefitted from the listening skills.”

“You are doing a great work. Please don’t relent in your efforts.”



If you want to keep updated on when and where the next training will be taking place then click below on “Partner” with “Project Hope” in the comment and we will be in touch with more details.

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God Loves Uganda film event at Dublin Pride

On 21st June we were delighted to partner with the National LGBT Federation (NXF) for a Dublin Pride showing of God Loves Uganda. The Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, Dublin was the venue for this provocative and disturbing documentary. In the film Oscar-winning (Music by Prudence) director Roger Ross Williams  examines the role of US evangelical groups in the development and passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda.
After the showing a panel which included ACET Ireland CEO Richard Carson, Juliet Amamure of Diaspora Women’s Initiative and Patrick Lynch formerly of Evangelical Alliance Ireland and NXF discussed the film including the challenge of identifying appropriate responses. Over 60 people from a range of backgrounds from church leaders to LGBT community leaders to Uganda diaspora members turned up on a sunny Saturday to be part of the event.
Earlier in the month we also had a showing of the documentary for staff of faith-based international development agencies and we are grateful to Pádraig O’Tuama for sharing with us his experiences and expertise. This event was part of Project Emmaus, our fledgling work exploring the interface of faith and LGBT issues in Ireland and was funded by Community Foundation Ireland. God Loves Uganda can be purchased on Amazon or contact us by clicking on ‘Partner” below and mentioning the movie in the comment box for details of future educational showings.


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New partnership with M·A·C AIDS Fund UK & Project Hope

!cid_D8AEAE47-026F-42DE-8182-C43FDE7A4C3DWe are delighted to announce a new partnership with the M·A·C AIDS Fund UK. They will be supporting Project Hope as we seek to transform the story of HIV in Migrant-Led churches across Ireland through the training of leaders. These churches are important and positive community supports for many people living with HIV. It is broadly acknowledged though that the experience of those living with HIV within these settings has been mixed in terms of leadership, pastoral support and health promotion.This partnership will allow us to deliver training that will change this and allow these churches to further flourish in the values of faith, hope and love that are central to their existence.

The  M·A·C AIDS Fund is the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical donor in the area of HIV. They join with Community Foundation Ireland, the PA Foundation and Dublin City Council by supporting Project Hope. If you want to keep updated on when and where this training will be taking place then click below on “Partner” with “Project Hope” in the comment and we will be in touch with more details.

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563 Home Visits in 2013: our annual report

At the start of 2013, the ACET care team noted a positive attitude among many clients who were seeking to improve in areas of their life, such as adhering to HIV medication, lowering levels of methadone maintenance, giving up smoking and bettering other areas of general health. In line with this, ACET’s staff and volunteers continued to provide practical and emotional client-centred care to 25 families with 63 adult and youth clients needing intensive or medium support, and to 29 families (40 individuals) who needed low levels of support, all affected by HIV, Hepatitis C and poly drug use, among other issues.

The support included:

  • 563 home care visits (373 by care staff and 190 by volunteers)
  • Accompaniment to 43 clinic and medical appointments
  • 64 sessions of bereavement support, crisis intervention and counselling
  • Numerous respite days (individual and family) with therapeutic elements
  • 22 quilt group meetings

Following the success of a pilot women’s morning in March, we held a second women’s event in July which focused on a holistic look at nutrition and healthy living. The reason behind this focus was a direct result of emerging issues of food poverty and the implications this has on physical and mental health. The good weather during the summer months also provided an opportunity for individually focused and varied respite days for clients. We enjoyed day trips to Dun Laoghaire, Bray, Botanic Gardens and Howth, in addition to making use of local community gardens and parks in the city centre.

The 2013 budget, which came earlier than expected, affected a number of our clients who receive grants such as mobility or dietary allowance. Practically, staff worked alongside individuals on personal budgeting, helping families with back-to-school needs and advocating to have personal grants restored.

In December, the care team completed the Hamper Project, delivering individually-tailored hampers to all the client families in a manner integrated with their overall care plan, taking time to be with people during this difficult season. This is always a positive way to close off the year and we are extremely appreciative of the donations and help towards it.

ACET Care 2013 highlights:

  • Continued work around parent-to-child communication and disclosure of HIV status.
  • Ongoing goal setting in line with client care plans which saw many individuals committing to adhere to their medication and reduce methadone and other drug use.
  • Several new diverse client referrals during the year.
  • Client-initiated group respite days which were significant as our clients are rarely in a place to attend group activities.
  • Supporting one client to share their story in a public setting of their journey through addiction and of living with HIV.

This is an excerpt from ACET’s 2013 annual report. To download the full report, which includes reports on our education projects, our finances, and Matilda Project, please click on the link below.

2013 Annual Report A5

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2013 Annual Report A5

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