Care Projects Updates

New referrals

One theme of our care work over the last few months has been an influx of new people being referred to us. Different stages of the year yield different levels of referrals, and this past Autumn/Winter has seen us meeting a lot of new people. Meeting someone for the first time can be brilliant, inspiring, challenging, and nervy– all at once! Usually, in the first meeting, through listening to their story, and speaking about how ACET could work alongside them, the conversation runs on to sharing at a deeper level, and that opens the door to real connection with them and their context.

The initial stage of working with someone new can be challenging as we get to know their circumstances, learn what motivates them, and how best to support them. Sometimes, it may take a while before a person regularly keeps meetings we arrange. Lack of familiarity can be a major barrier, but perseverance and patience help overcome it. To use a horticulture analogy, this is the sowing season; putting in the work now in hope of future success. One of the people we recently started working with reflected, “At first, I wasn’t sure about you, but now I know I can call you and feel really supported”.


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Flower pots along a window sill.

Care Work Day to Day

In the past few months, our care work has focused on:

  • Medical support: particular clients have been motivated to engage with testing, adhere to new and existing medication regimes and attend clinic appointments with the support and encouragement of care staff.
  • New referrals: needs range from housing, health and migration issues. While building new relationships we have also assisted with applications and interagency work, alongside the appropriate health focus.
  • Linking with extended family members of existing clients: as a result of already established relationships, we have been able to provide immediate support in areas of health promotion, advocacy for social justice issues and boundaries within family units.
  • Mid-term and Easter respite: visits to museums, the zoo, Malahide Castle and Farmleigh provided a welcome break for families and individuals. Creating memories also helps strengthen intergenerational relationships. Respite is an invaluable support: we are grateful for the funding for it.

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Respite in many forms: family baking projects; rock climbing; playground time.

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Care work: Unearthing Joy

The care team have had a busy few months so far in 2015, continuing to meet with individuals and families in their homes, out and about in cafes and clinics, and working with emerging and ongoing challenges, as well as celebrating and acknowledging the positive moments. Our hope is to continue with our ongoing family care projects, as well as putting together respite activities for young people and individuals’, depending on funding and client needs.  This is always a huge focus of the summer months as there are more opportunities to come together, joining in on activities and continuing to build relationships.  We are receiving new referrals from various hospitals, which gives further opportunity to support and care for those living with and affected by HIV.

Upon some reflection, we see our care work a bit like preparing for the Irish weather – you never know exactly what it will bring, but you try to be prepared for whatever is coming!  You acknowledge the rainstorms and work through them, but rejoice when the sunshine is out and appreciate every moment of it.  Some days are chaotic, some are beautiful and many of them are mixed but it really does seem so much easier when you have someone you trust who shows up and stands with you throughout it all.  The care team aim to be the ones who show up in the midst of this, communicating to those we work with, “I hear you, I see you, and I’m here with you.” With the plans we have in place, we also want to acknowledge the space where God leads us to stand in the gap of hardship or isolation or hunger or sickness. We plan to help find goodness and beauty throughout hardships and disappointments, to unearth discarded joy and use it as a resource through those personal battles.  Alongside these ideals for clients, we continue to help source the practical and emotional ways that ACET’s collaborative relationship fits into their life stories.

We look forward to the summer and all of the adventures and opportunities for relationship-building that lie ahead – whether it’s practical resourcing for clients, long chats over cups of tea in an inner-city cafe, a DART journey with young people headed back from the beach singing One Direction songs, or sitting beside someone in an overcrowded hospital; we are blessed to be in it with them, and pray for goodness and joy to abound in it all.


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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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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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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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Just send us your email address and we will send you an partner pack.

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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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