Services and staff at the largest Clare based volunteer agency are at capacity and unable to take on any additional cases.
Vulnerable people in Co Clare are being affected by the lack of resources at Clarecare. Their annual report highlights that staff and services are at capacity. General Manger, Fiacre Hensey revealed that requests for additional funding have been rejected by the HSE.
“The economic recovery has as yet not been felt in the voluntary or not-for-profit sector as funding, or lack of it, continues to be the biggest impediment to a sustained delivery of services to those vulnerable in our society. The pain is particularly acute in the provision of services for older persons, where the average number on the waiting list for Home Help on any given day is 150.
Clarecare has identified that appropriate home care could enable 6-10 persons to remain at home for the same cost as one can maintain a person in a residential facility. Currently the major focus of the HSE has been in the short-term provision of Home Care hours to facilitate hospital discharges.
A sample of statistics from the Annual Report shows that 195,211 Home Help Hours and 55,226 Home Care Package Hours were delivered by Clarecare to Clare residents in 2015. Over 11,000 meals were provided in people’s homes by home helps and over 11,000 meals were provided in the Clarecare meals centres for 2015. Specialised social workers for older persons received 4,257contacts in face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and written enquiries in 2015.
941 adult counselling hours were provided by qualified counsellors in 2015. Bushypark Addiction Treatment Centre is a 13 bed facility providing a 28 day residential treatment programme for people addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling. 126 clients completed this residential programme in 2015, the majority with alcohol/polydrug addictions. Following treatment, clients attend a 2 year aftercare programme run in 18 locations in Clare, Limerick and Galway. 312 clients attended in 2015 supported by 49 trained volunteer facilitators.
In 2015 Bushypark saw a 25% increase in Gambling and Behavioural Addictions on 2014.Bushypark also provides an assessment service and 247 assessments were carried out in 2015.
The Family Support Team of 25 professional staff provides a wide range of services throughout the county. The model of working acknowledges that families can engage with Clarecare services at different levels and stages. A total of 2,132 parents and children availed of the Family Support Services in 2015.
All Clarecare services are based in Clare, primarily serving the people of Clare. Clarecare offices are in Ennis, Bushypark, Kilrush, Killaloe, Shannon, Miltown Malbay and Ennistymon. The services are based on the philosophy of working in a supportive role with people to assist them in finding solutions to their problems.
At present, virtually all Clarecare services are operating at full capacity and the rate of demand for many services is growing. Waiting lists do operate; however, every effort is made to ensure that those in greatest need are seen as a matter of urgency.
Rev. Ger Nash, Chairman of the Clarecare Board of Directors underlined the role the public plays in supporting the agency. “Grateful thanks to the public without whose support Clarecare would find it very difficult to carry out the work it does. The unfailingly generous response to the Annual Church Gate Collection and to the Christmas Food Appeal shows that Clarecare is seen as an effective and efficient means of transferring kindness and care from those who have enough to those who have needs of many different kinds. I would also like to thank the Staff and volunteers within the many services which Clarecare provides and to note the great spirit of teamwork which exists between volunteers and Staff.”
Clarecare liaises with bodies including The Dept. of Health (TUSLA, the HSE), the Dept. of Justice, the Dept. of Social Protection, Health Insurers and the Killaloe Diocese in order to ensure the best use of available resources. The services are delivered by almost 500 staff members, with 370 employed as part-time Home Helps, 74 core staff and 33 as Community Employment Scheme participants.
Mr. Hensey acknowledged that, “The skills level and expertise of Clarecare staff continue to be recognised by the academic world and by their peers. Clarecare staff have presented in various regional and national conferences and seminars and in academic institutions including Trinity College Dublin, NUIG Galway, UCC Cork, UL Limerick. This increased exposure has ensured that Clarecare is quickly gaining a coveted reputation for competent, professional service delivery in the social services sector. We are deservedly up there with the best on many fronts”.