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Maria Goretti Foundation and RehabCare Open Doors to Respite Centre for Children in Lordship

22/09/2014 Maria Goretti Foundation and RehabCare Open Doors to Respite Centre for Children in Lordship

The newly completed Children’s respite centre in Lordship Co. Louth opened its doors to its first residents today and marks the culmination of nine years of planning by the Maria Goretti Foundation to build a respite centre for children in the Cooley Peninsula.

The facility will cater for up to eight children with disabilities and various health conditions in Louth between the ages of six to 18 years and will enable parents, carers and families have a break from the often challenging demands of providing full-time care.

The facility was officially opened in February and has already been busy during the intervening months, providing day respite services and summer camps to children and families in the Louth area.

The centre has recently completed the necessary HIQA certification process to allow for overnight stays and will open on a phased basis initially, with four beds operational on a Thursday to Sunday basis. It is anticipated that the remaining beds will come on-line at a later date.

The services offered will include overnight stays and involve multidisciplinary team support to children with a variety of health conditions and disabilities. The needs of each child will be assessed on an individual basis in consultation with families and other agencies involved in the care and education of that child. Children on respite breaks will be provided with social, sport and leisure activities and will also be supported in attending their full-time education centres. This new service is hugely welcomed in the locality.

The Maria Goretti Foundation was the brainchild of John Hanlon of Hanlon Transport, who sadly passed away in 2008. Mr Hanlon had considerable contact with the family of a child with disabilities, was aware of the demands on this child’s parents and wanted to do something to help. He investigated the services available locally for children and found a need for a residential respite facility.

Ms Caroline Hanlon, from the Maria Goretti Foundation said: “The Hanlon family are delighted that HIQA have finally approved the Respite Centre at Lordship enabling us to welcome families to the facility for the first time as residents. This is the culmination of a dream that was passionately held by the late John Hanlon RIP, and as we prepare to greet the children who will use the centre we invoke his memory and embrace his inspirational vision and courageous determination. We are grateful to Rehabcare, The Health Service Executive and to the Maria Goretti Foundation for their combined efforts in bringing the project to this memorable day when we welcome young people and their families – that’s what the Maria Goretti Foundation is all about. We are forever grateful to all who have helped us reach this milestone and in a particular way, conscious today of the generosity of many people whose generosity made this possible.”

The services in the centre will be delivered by RehabCare, which provides community-based rehabilitation services including resource centres, respite care, home-based services, residential care and supported accommodation to people with disabilities, older people and others who are marginalised throughout Ireland.  Approximately 3,000 people benefit from RehabCare’s services every year.

Deirdre Quinn, RehabCare Community Services Manager said: “It is especially pleasing to have reached this point where we will see our first residents staying in this wonderful facility. We have been busy preparing the centre and have received magnificent support during this time from the Maria Goretti Foundation, the Health Service Executive in the Louth/Meath area and the local community.  Children’s respite services are vital for the families and we are really excited about welcoming our first overnight guests and hope that the centre will provide real support to the families and children who really need them.”

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