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Happy Birthday Highfield House!


‘It’s a brilliant service... my daughter gets to live in a home away from home. It’s like an extended family’. Anne Corrigan from Moydow, speaking about Highfield House, the RehabCare high-support residential and day service in Longford that celebrates a very special birthday this year. For the past eleven years, Highfield House in Knockloughlin, Longford, has been a happy home for people with a diagnosis of autism from the surrounding area.

In partnership with the Health Service Executive, RehabCare’s services in the Longford region have developed and grown over the past decade. They now also include Longford Autism Resource Centre, Oakland’s Supported Accommodation, a low support service for adults with learning disabilities and a supported living service, providing people with the skills to live independently. Walking into Highfield House itself, there’s a warm and friendly atmosphere. Many of the staff working there have been with the service since it first began in 2002 and have formed great relationships with the people in the service, their families and members of the local community. For families, Highfield House is a happy, home environment where their loved ones are being supported to live independently. Bridie Prunty, whose daughter uses the services at Highfield House said, “The service is a great advantage not only for my daughter but for the family also, she always looks forward to her stay there!”

According to Sally Budd, Residential Services Manager, the service offered by staff at Highfield House has been designed to meet each person’s own specific needs. “Everyone is different, and at Highfield House we look at the individual abilities of each person, their needs and their goals. Programmes here are designed to stimulate and to challenge the person in a safe and secure environment. We also ensure that programmes have achievable and realistic goals. In that way, people are supported in reaching their full potential. I really enjoy my job. One of the many highlights is seeing how the people here  develop, take on challenges and achieve their goals.
Longford Autism Resource Centre in Redleaf House, Townspark, in Longford Town provides a range of programmes for adults with autism, including many of those who live at Highfield House. These include music therapy, computer skills, horse riding, reflexology, literacy, numeracy, as well as personal awareness. Although only open a few short years, the progress made by those attending the service has been remarkable.

Geraldine Mahon from Newtownforbes said,“We are so delighted with the service. My son James has grown up in the service and has made great progress. Everyone is to be praised for it. He has grown up and is more tolerant and understanding of other people’s needs. He has changed completely; he’s so positive! His speech has come on in leaps and bounds.

Jimmy and Roseann Cunningham said “our son is so happy in the service, he never was so happy in his life! He would not miss a day, he adores the place and the staff. He has come on so well in every area since he started in the service.”

Community integration is a key element of all RehabCare services. People are supported to use local facilities including the local library, shops, gyms and pool and to get involved in initiatives such as the Longford Tidy Towns and Gaisce – The President’s Award. RehabCare has also forged close links with Longford VEC and individualised programmes have been developed, providing even greater opportunities for people attending RehabCare services to attain FETAC awards and to develop their skills. According to Ms Budd, businesses from Longford town and the surrounding area have been hugely supportive of RehabCare by providing work experience and paid work. ”These opportunities have been hugely beneficial to the people who attend our services and mark a real achievement and milestone in their progress.”

RehabCare are very keen to ensure that the highest quality of service is delivered and promoted at all times and earlier this year the service undertook an EQUASS accreditation assessment. The service staff and everyone involved in providing the service is delighted to have been awarded the EQUASS standard which represents the high standards and promotion of best practice in the service. If anyone is interested in volunteering with RehabCare  or offering some time to support local fundraising events contact Sally Budd on 087 2417784.

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