Limerick volunteers needed to give a break to people living with disability

Eddie Cahill (16) from Askeaton enjoying a recent Homeshare stay with Gerry O'Connell in Moneygall.

A COMMUNITY-based service that provides holiday breaks for children and adults living with disabilities is looking for a helping hand from the people of Limerick.

The Home Share Short Breaks initiative provides a service linking people living with disabilities with host carers to welcome them into their homes for fun and enjoyable breaks away from their normal home environment.

Representatives of the initiative say the service gives families respite from continual caring.

“Breaks can be for a couple of hours, overnight, weekends, or even longer and each break is arranged around the person’s preference and each host carer’s preferences and availability,” a spokesperson for the initiative said.

Making the call for more hosts to get involved in the service, Avista Home Share Coordinator Catherine O’Sullivan said: “The feedback we receive from host carers is extremely positive.”

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“For some, it is a way of giving back to society and for others, it has given them a real understanding of the struggles that families dealing with disability face daily.”

Ms O’Sullivan said the service can be a source of joy for hosts sharing their home with someone new, and, for those being cared for, it provides an opportunity to experience a new environment and meet new people.

One service user from Limerick, Eddie Cahill (16) from Askeaton, has been visiting Alison and Gerry O’Connell who have been acting as hosts for almost 20 years at their home in Moneygall, County Offaly.

Eddie’s mother Patricia said that her biggest fear in signing him up for the service was the fact that he may not be able to communicate his needs with the family given that he was non-verbal.

“I need not have feared as Alison and Gerry are just brilliant. It is so reassuring to know that Eddie is in a family home being cared for as though he was here in our family. It’s nice to know that there is someone you can rely on. That peace of mind is worth so much.”

All hosts families have Garda, TUSLA, and medical clearance, though previous caring experience is not necessary and training is provided.

For more information contact Catherine at 087 413 2888 or email [email protected]