Clarecare’s annual report for 2016 shows growing demand and increased delivery of support services to the people of Clare, however, there are concerns that these may be threatened as funding is required to comply with regulation.
Like many organisations in the not-for-profit sector, Clarecare must satisfy the registration requirements and reporting protocols of a growing number of State agencies, legislation and individual demands of the various Service Level Agreements with statutory bodies.
According to general manager, Fiacre Hensey, “Clarecare must be compliant with the standards and demands of good governance, implement proper and updated policies and procedures, be fully accountable and operate in a truly transparent fashion.
“We pride ourselves on being compliant however, securing the resources to fund the diversity of skills required to adequately address compliance is a huge challenge for Clarecare.
“It should be noted that none of our current statutory partners funds an accountant for Clarecare and yet having such competence in-house is necessary to fulfil these requirements”.
Clarecare is a unique organisation. It is the largest not for profit agency providing a broad range of support services for people in Clare. These services include Citizens Information Centres, support groups and services, a professional counselling service, Bushypark Addiction Treatment Centre and thrift shops.
The annual report shows that 217,778 Home Help Hours and 80,638 Home Care Package Hours were delivered by Clarecare to residents in 2016. This is a significant increase in service delivery from 2015 when the figures were 195,211 and 55,226 respectively.
Over 11,000 meals were provided by home helps and over 11,000 meals were provided in Clarecare meals centres. Social workers for older persons had 4,507 contacts in face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and written enquiries in 2016.
In addition. 941 adult counselling hours were provided by professionally qualified counsellors.
Last year Bushypark Addiction Treatment Centre celebrated its 25th anniversary. The 13 bed facility provides a 28 day residential treatment addiction programme based on a biopsychosocial abstinence model.
Some 128 clients completed this programme in 2016, the majority with alcohol/polydrug addictions. At the end of the treatment, 322 clients attended a 2 year aftercare programme run in 18 locations in Clare, Limerick and Galway and supported by 47 trained volunteer facilitators.
Last year Bushypark saw a 28% increase in clients over the age of 65 presenting for the residential programme and a significant increase of clients from the Limerick and Galway areas.
Clarecare’s Family Support Team of 25 professional staff provided a wide range of services, availed of by 2,132 parents and children in 2016.
In Shannon, a Citizens Information Centre, in partnership with Clarecare, provides information, advice and advocacy services on rights, services, entitlements and options. The office dealt with 8,370 queries from 5,290 individual callers last year. It also provides a monthly Free Legal Advice Clinic attended by local solicitors.
Clarecare offices are located in Ennis, Bushypark, Kilrush, Killaloe, Shannon, Miltown Malbay and Ennistymon to optimise the delivery of services to a diverse population. The services work in a supportive role to assist people in finding solutions to their problems.
Clarecare services are accessed by a wide range of people of all ages. The vast majority live in County Clare, however some have Clare connections but live elsewhere. Bushypark Addiction Treatment Centre Residential and Outreach Services are open to all, regardless of place of residence.
At present, virtually all Clarecare services are operating at full capacity and the rate of demand for continues to grow. Waiting lists are in operation operate; however, every effort is made to ensure that those in greatest need are seen as a matter of urgency. Fundraising to support services is ongoing.
According to Rev. Ger Nash, chairman of the board of directors, “We are very grateful for the unfailingly generous response of Clare people to the annual church gate collection and to the Christmas food appeal.
“The assistance of many other charities in the Clare area is particularly appreciated, not least the generosity of the Ennis Lions Club which has been a long standing supporter of the Christmas Food Appeal.
“I would also like to thank the staff and volunteers within the many services which Clarecare provides and to note the great spirit of teamwork which exists between volunteers and staff.”
Clarecare liaises with a number of statutory and civic bodies to ensure the best use of available resources. Services are delivered by almost 500 staff, of these 370 are employed as part-time Home Helps, 74 core staff and 33 Community Employment Scheme participants.
Mr Hensey acknowledged that, “The challenge for Clarecare is one of ensuring best practice across all services, attracting necessary skills, adopting new information technologies to derive substance in reports and efficiencies in day to day operations, while ensuring full accountability and transparency in all matters pertaining to funding and operations.
“Nothing less will suffice and, in spite of the challenging environment, Clarecare continues to deliver a diversity of services to the highest standards to vulnerable families and individuals across the county.
“In 2018 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Clarecare and that will be an important and significant milestone for the organisation.”
If anyone wishes to avail of Clarecare supports they can contact 065 682 8178 or visit www.clarecare.ie.