While our Care Work team can make a real difference in the practical and emotional support that they provide, we are often limited by location. Our clients’ stories rotate around small communities where they are constantly reminded of the loss of loved ones, the despair that has marked their lives and the challenges they face.
We have identified a clear need to provide alternative “safe spaces” for our clients where they can relax, recharge and reflect; if even for a moment detached from the world that moves them from crisis to crisis. So our solution is our Respite Project. It involves a combination of half-day, full-day and weekend slots where the clients are taken out of their immediate environment and accompanied by trained staff and volunteers.
- our office space to deliver specific activities
- many of our city’s resources such as parks
- more scenic and rural settings
While there is a general theme of resting and relaxing, our staff is also intentional in that we seek to address parenting and communication skills, coping mechanisms and personal resources. In this way our Respite Project plays an important role in supporting parents in breaking the cycle and safeguarding the next generation.
At times the respite days are completed with a number of families together so as to encourage shared experiences, mutual learning and peer support. The response from those we work with to these times has been overwhelmingly positive. They regularly report that these events are highlights of their year. Lasting memories are formed that can be referenced during darker days, communication and coping skills are improved and relationships are restored.
“There were other ways that ACET used to help. They were great they would bring us down the country for a break. We went away one time to a cottage and I can remember I made coddle and I made so much it was enough to last for the two days we were down there. When we were there we would draw things to express how we were feeling, it was a great place to be. During our time down there someone would take the kids out to do activities and the mothers would have a space to talk cause I couldn’t talk in front of my kids. At the start we were like kids ourselves, nobody wanted to talk first but when we got comfortable with everyone we could talk about all sorts. The weekends away were a great relief and a laugh.” – Anna, in Drinking from the Same Cup
Resources required for the Respite Project are supported by the HSE Respite Care Grant Scheme and the Cork Street Fund.