St Gabriels Childrens Respite House – Pictured at the launch are Cllr Daniel Butler, Mayor of Limerick City & County, Richard Lynch, I Love Limerick, Minister Anne Rabbitte TD, Máire O’Leary, CEO, St Gabriels, Kate Sheahan, Fundraising & Development Manager and Susan Walsh, PA to Máire O’Leary, CEO. Picture: Rachel Petticrew/ilovelimerick
St Gabriel’s Foundation officially launch their purpose-built Childrens Respite House in Mungret
St Gabriel’s Foundation was delighted to welcome Minister Anne Rabbitte TD, Minister of State, Department of Children, Disability, Equality to open St Gabriel’s Children’s Respite House.
Family needs were the inspiration behind the building of this state-of-the-art children’s respite house. St Gabriel’s hope that all the families who supported them on this project, especially the families whose children have sadly passed away, will feel their efforts have been rewarded. The building of this respite house is a testament to people’s vision, courage, and determination. It has created a lasting legacy for children with disabilities and a much-needed service for their families
St Gabriels Childrens Respite House, located in Mungret, Co Limerick, was designed and purpose-built in 2018 to provide overnight respite breaks for children with severe physical disabilities and additional complex medical needs from across the Midwest. Some of these children also have life-limiting conditions. The 6-bedroom facility was built at a cost of almost €3 million. It was built with monies raised from a wide range of community fundraising activities, donations, grants, corporate and business support including significant donations received from the McManus Charitable Foundation.
When Minister Rabbitte visited St. Gabriel’s Respite House in October 2020, she saw first-hand the enormous impact that such a modern and purpose-built facility would mean to the families and the people in the Midwest. Minister Rabbitte said that creating additional respite spaces was a key priority for her in Budget 2021 and she committed to fully supporting the opening
True to her word, funding was secured for staffing and running costs. With great excitement for everyone involved, the first child was welcomed into the house on June 17 this year.
Máire O’Leary, CEO, St Gabriel’s said, “The opening of the Respite House has made such a difference to the children and families who need respite services. These are children with very complex needs, requiring specialist services and round-the-clock care. Many of the children are non-verbal, use wheelchairs and are peg-fed, and need oxygen and suction. Máire also said, “We are so proud of all the staff at St Gabriel’s and we are excited to bring on board new staff who have training and skills to care for these most vulnerable children, families need to know that the staff are well trained, compassionate and committed to their child’s wellbeing.”
Currently, St Gabriels Childrens Respite House is transitioning to opening for five nights out of seven for 6 children each night. 26 children have been accepted through the referral process and already the need from families is outgrowing the number of nights available.
Máire O’Leary added, “St Gabriel’s wishes to express their sincere thanks to Minister Rabbitte and her department for their support in securing the funding.
St Gabriel’s also wish to thank the HSE Mid-West Disability Office and acknowledge their on-going support and commitment to this greatly needed respite service.
The hard work of so many individuals, groups and fundraising committees is evident in the beautiful building we see today.
A special mention to the design team and the builders who made each feature of the house easy to use for children with complex disabilities.
It has been a long journey and they are very grateful for the funding allocated in 2021 to operate and manage the service. They are looking forward to 2022 where they hope to open on a full-time basis as the demand for the service is so high.
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Pictures: Rachel Petticrew/ilovelimerick