There is a need to improve the quality of the service currently provided to people supported at QDS Services and Supports at Vicar’s Road and we now plan to restart our discussions with the people who use the services at QDS and their families about our plans to migrate those services to more suitable settings.
An audit of the Vicars Road site outlined a significant number of challenges with the infrastructure there. These challenges are further compounded by the fact that many of those using the site have to travel long distances from the communities where they lived.
Cope Foundation is evolving its services and supports and moving from large congregated settings such as QDS to smaller, more locally based hubs and day centres. This evolution mirrors international best practice, which has diverged away from the historic concept of large congregated settings.
In recent years, Cope Foundation has successfully opened hubs in Midleton, the City centre, Cobh and most recently in Ballyvolane. We also have new hubs in Macroom, Douglas, Ballincollig and Blackrock coming on stream in the coming months. The improved outcomes for people who are supported through this model are evidence of the benefits of the change to more community based settings.
QDS currently supports up to 160 individuals, ranging in age from 23 to 81. Our priority is to now engage with those individuals and their families to explain the rationale behind the change and to keep them fully informed of the impact that those changes may have on the service and support they receive.
I acknowledge that QDS has emerged as a community in its own right as a result of how services were provided there over the years. However, many of the people attending there have to spend considerable parts of their day travelling on organised transport. There are also challenges in providing more individualised support where there are large groups of people coming together with very different needs. Our focus is on ensuring people get the support they need, closer to their own community. The money saved on transportation and the upkeep of an older site can be put to a much better use for their benefit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a factor in our decision making process, as the number of people that can be safely accommodated on the site has been significantly reduced. This has resulted in a direct impact on the people we support and their families.
As a result of all of the above the decision has been made to move from the QDS site.
It is recognised that some of the people we support have been coming to QDS for many years, and their connections with peers and staff are important. Our plans will bear this important fact in mind, ensuring that the person’s connections and relationships are maintained and fostered as we move to new places.
We are working in the background on creating alternatives and we are fully committed to the people we support. We will be shortly starting a comprehensive communication programme with every individual and family affected by our decision. This communication will outline our plans, how they will affect them and what solutions are being put in place to support them into the future.
Cope Foundation will only vacate the site when appropriate alternative in-community supports have been put in place for everyone.
Cope Foundation's Board of Directors have agreed that funds from any future sale will be used directly on improved services for the people supported by the organisation.
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