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Cope urges families to open their homes, and hearts, to help others

September 5th, 2022 8:00 PM

By Emma Connolly

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COPE Foundation is recruiting host carers for its home sharing initiative.

The initiative sees a family in the community open their home to a person with an intellectual disability who is supported by Cope Foundation.

Cope launched home sharing in 2017 and currently has 20 hosts who offer long and short term stays, one of which is in West Cork.

Two people it supports in West Cork also avail of the service.

Now it’s looking to expand the service and it is holding an information and recruitment event to showcase what it entails later this month.

The process involves host caters being fully vetted, assessed and trained and carefully matched with each child or adult looking to go on a short break.

The breaks can be for a couple of hours, overnight, weekends or even longer. The scheme is voluntary. However, host carers are paid an allowance which is tax free.

Rachel Moriarty is the home sharing coordinator and described it as an ‘old meitheal-style approach.’

‘It’s a very different type of care, which involves a partnership between the host family, the person, their family and ourselves.

‘It’s about building meaningful relationships and helping to transform lives,’ she said.

It is not available to those already availing of Cope’s residential services.

‘But in some cases it might suit someone to transfer from residential to home sharing, and their space could be given to someone who needed it and who might have more complex needs,’ she said. ‘It’s about being creative with our thinking.’

She said many people had the extra challenge of looking after a person with a disability during the pandemic.

‘Having a short break from this caregiving can be of huge benefit to the caregiver and their family. In addition, home sharing offers the child or adult an opportunity to widen their social circle, enjoy new experiences and try new hobbies,’ she said.

Sean Abbott, chief executive of Cope said host carers don’t need to have experience of working with people with a disability.

‘We’re looking for personal qualities such as being warm and caring, having time and commitment, being reliable and motivated to care. We provide full training and ongoing support for host carers every step of the way.’

The home sharing team will host an information day in the Metropole Hotel, Cork city, on Tuesday, September 27th from 2-7pm. For more see copefoundation.ie

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