The newly completed Children’s respite centre in Lordship opened its doors to its first residents last Thursday, 18 September 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 services in the centre will be delivered by RehabCare.
“It is especially pleasing to have reached this point where we will see our first residents staying in this wonderful facility,” said Deirdre Quinn, RehabCare Community Services Manager.
“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.
The new centre has purpose built bedrooms all with ensuites and state of the art facilities. There is also a great open play area for the children with a water feature, swings, sand pit and tricycles and bicycles that have been donated to the centre.
“We plan on putting a roof over the play area so that it can be used in all types of weather,” said Ms Quinn. “The kids absolutely love the play area and all the space they have out here and we hope to develop it even further in the future.”
The centre has recently been processed for the necessary HIQA certification 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 onstream 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.
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.
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.
“The Hanlon family are delighted that HIQA have finally approved the Respite Centre at Lordship,” Ms Caroline Hanlon, from the Maria Goretti Foundation said.
“This is the culmination of a dream that was passionately held by the late John Hanlon, and we invoke his memory and embrace his inspirational vision and courageous determination.
“We are grateful to Rehabcare, The Health Service Executive, the Maria Goretti Foundation and to all who have helped us reach this milestone,” she concluded.