A NEW rehabilitation and care facility which will focus vitally needed resources for those with intellectual disabilities across North Tipperary into one centre on the Stradavoher Road in Thurles, was inaugurated on Monday when Mayor of North Tipperary Cllr Michéal Lowry turned the sod on the development, marking the beginnning of 11 months of construction work.
Speaking after the sod turning ceremony in the Anner Hotel, Cllr Lowry said the project was the culmination of years of consultation and hard work. “As far back as 2006 it was identified that there was a specific need in North Tipperary to cater for the needs of young adults with autism and intellectual disabilities. In partnership with the HSE, Rehab has developed support and accommodation for an initial 16 users, which has grown to 32 units today. All these services are currently provided from rented accommodation. Therefore, today marks the next step in providing permanent secure accommodation which will enable Rehab to meet the needs of each user.”
Declan Ryan, a service user, Geraldine Egan, Residential Services Manager, RehabCare Thurles, and Sinéad Butler, a Regional Manager with Rehab, all thanked those involved in the drive to get the centre up and running. “We do have a long way to go,” added Ms Butler. “Times are very difficult in terms of getting capital funding. We will be endeavouring in a fundraising drive in the next year and half to maximise the use of the premises we have, and the equipment we will be putting into them. We will be approaching family, friends, and businesses in the next while to try a fundraising campaign.”
The development will consist of a variety of supported and independent living housing units and apartments as well as a day service for up to 20 adults. The development is by RehabCare, Rehab’s health and social care division, in partnership with Newgrove Housing Association. Organisers say the centre will give every person living there or attending the day service the opportunity to be as independent as possible and to become fully integrated in their local community.
The development will include a residential service for four adults with 24-hour staff support, a supported accommodation for up to four adults with 24-hour independent living skills support, an independent living unit for one adult, a full day service with purpose built facilities such as a sensory room, computer room, training kitchen, areas for social and leisure, activities, education and independent living programmes.
“We are delighted that today, the first step has been taken towards building this new development,” added Ms Egan. “The services that will be provided in Stradavoher will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of those who use our services. They’re looking forward greatly to moving into their new homes and new day service. This development would not be possible without the support of North Tipperary County Council, HSE MidWest, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Newgrove Housing Association and RehabGroup. We would like to thank them for their contribution and continued support. We would hope to continue to expand our services here in Thurles to provide more services to adults with intellectual disability’”.
In 2006 RehabCare identified a need for services for young adults with autism and intellectual disability in North Tipperary. In consultation with the HSE, RehabCare developed a residential, respite, supported accommodation and day service for 16 young adults initially, with 32 young adults now availing of the services, all of which are currently based in rented accommodation. These include a Resource Centre in Rosemount, two residential services in Two-mile-borris and one in Dovea, supported accommodation in Marlstone Manor and a respite care service in Cluan Glas.
The sod-turning was attended by people who use RehabCare’s services and their families, as well as representatives from North Tipperary County Council, HSE MidWest, Rehab Group and Newgrove Housing Association. Deputy Michael Lowry TD added: “I am delighted to welcome such a facility to the town of Thurles. Rehab Care has been doing a stellar job in difficult circumstances in providing for those with Autism and intellectual disabilities. To date, they have been doing so using temporary accommodation so the turning of the sod on what will be a permanent, top class facility is a tribute to their continued hard work and determination. The consolidation of facilities under one roof is a huge step forward and will be a vital resource and support for the people of Thurles. It is difficult to adequately describe the enormous benefit this will have for those with disabilities and their families across North Tipperary,” added Deputy Lowry.