Projects Updates

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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Worrying increase in HIV cases in Ireland

Is HIV still an issue in Ireland? Are there still new cases of this preventable infection? Most people in Ireland are unsure how to answer this question. However for the past few years we have had almost one new case per day in this country and this figure is rising significantly. Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre ( shows that in the first 15 weeks of 2014 there were 126 new cases of HIV. That’s a 50% increase on the same period last year. We are waiting to hear from the HPSC on the possible routes of transmission of these cases but we know that Men who have sex with Men and Heterosexual transmission continue to be areas of concern.

Recently Richard Carson, CEO of ACET Ireland, was among the first 12 HIV experts in Europe trained in Succeed, a quality improvement tool developed by Quality Action, the World Health Organisation approved agency tasked with improving quality in HIV-prevention across Europe. At the training Richard heard that “we will not treat our way out of the pandemic” – a statement that reflects that while we are delighted that treatment for HIV continues to improve, we need to continue to focus on prevention. Does the incidence of HIV in Ireland surprise you? How do you think we should respond? We would love to hear your comments. 

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Project Hope gets international recognition as ACET Ireland is published.

Our project working to equip migrant-led churches to promote health and address HIV within their communities has received international recognition through a peerreviewed journal. Richard Carson and Philip McKinley contributed to the paper Increasing HIV Testing Among African Immigrants in Ireland: Challenges and Opportunities which appeared in this month’s edition of the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. The lead author is Prof. Adebola Adedimeji of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York. Staff from University College Dublin and the Mater Hospital Dublin also contributed. The paper looks at some of the barriers that exist in Irish society to addressing HIV among migrants. It highlights the importance of faith communities and the need to deliver training that engages with the theological and social framework of faith community leaders. This is precisely what Project Hope seeks to achieve.

Are you a church leader or do you know faith community leaders who would value training in how to address HIV and other health issues within their settings? If yes then please get in touch with us and SIGN UP for more information. Read the abstract and order the full paper.

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Care team gearing up for an exciting summer.

Our Family and Youth Support Co-ordinator, Hansi Chisnall, shares news of the exciting plans we have for summer 2014:

We currently offer highly-relational, intentional youth support through activities held in-house and during outings to fun and diverse locations.  Ages generally range between 5-18 and each young person is supported based on their individual needs and assessed from a holistic viewpoint.

Activities typically look like trips out to the zoo, beach, cinema, parks, leisure centres and attending workshops that aim to stimulate their personal creativity and offer them a platform for their voice to be heard.  In addition, regular family support often happens in the home, working together with each unique family unit through emotional and practical support.

As summer approaches, the aim is to increase the level of youth support in order to offer respite to both themselves and their families, either separately or together.  This means more consistent outings, more workshops held in our office, family days out and residential weekends.  These activities aim to be used as a safe and therapeutic space and time in order to build on attributes such as confidence, communication and enable their well-being.  As we receive feedback from the families we work with, it helps us to tailor our activities and support work around where they are at and empower them to take ownership over their personal involvement.

We hope to soon recruit a small pool of volunteers who are interested and able to help support these young people through positive and encouraging activities and 1-to-1 mentoring.

If you’re interested in volunteering with ACET, please get in touch and we will let you know how you can get involved.

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ACET Care Project accepting referrals

In the context of a significant increase in HIV incidence our Care Project have received an increase in new referrals in 2014. We accept referrals from a variety of agencies and individuals including health care professionals, social workers, drug projects, local community groups, churches and self-referrals.

Referrals are accompanied by a completed form with information relevant to the potential client and their specific care needs. Depending upon capacity within our service an ACET staff member will then meet with the referred person to provide information on ACET’S care services. In the initial stages of the care relationship a client agreement is signed and a care plan established in line with agreed goals. Referrals are currently being accepted. You can download a referral form below or contact the ACET office at

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