FRUSTRATED families are urging Cope to re-open its residential centre at Carrigbeg in Bandon as a matter of urgency after it closed last year around the start of the pandemic.
The closure has resulted in a significant demand and pressure for places in its Clonakilty centre, and some families were unable to place their siblings there, when services re-opened.
The organisation supports both children and adults with intellectual disabilities and autism and has four day cares centres in West Cork.
The brother of one client – who used to stay in Bandon – said he now only attends Clonakilty one day a week and must bring his own packed lunch.
‘We just don’t seem to be getting any answers from Cope on the reasons for its closure and it’s heart breaking to see my brother go into himself,’ he said.
Cllr Paul Hayes said that he has been contacted by several families on the issue.
‘Bandon closed due to Covid-19 and many of the people who attended there were sent to Clonakilty instead. However, several residents stayed in their homes during the pandemic and now their families are keen to get some respite by having their sons and daughters looked after in Cope in Clonakilty but there isn’t enough space,’ said Cllr Hayes.
Another person whose sibling lost a bed in Clonakilty said: ‘There is a fear that Covid is being used as an excuse to downgrade the services. While I can’t praise the staff in Clonakilty highly enough we need answers from the management of Cope as our siblings are suffering.’
A spokesperson for Cope said that their residential centre in Bandon initially closed in response to Covid.
‘It resulted in the redeployment of staff, which has led to the delayed reopening of our centre in Bandon. We have been unsuccessful in filling the vacancies in West Cork and we are planning a recruitment drive specifically for the area in the coming weeks.’