The Brothers of Charity Services started their first service in Clare in 1975 in partnership with the Clare Federation of parents. This first service was a residential home for children with intellectual disabilities and it was opened to facilitate access to school for children with an intellectual disability in rural areas of Clare who did not have access to transport at the time.
The first adult service for people with an intellectual disability was opened by the Brothers of Charity Services in partnership with the Clare Federation in 1983. The adult service started with the development of a sheltered workshop and a number of group homes in Ennis. Prior to this service opening people with an intellectual disability either stayed at home with their families or moved to institutional type care in Clare and other parts of Ireland.
The adult services in Ennis developed and evolved as a result of increasing demand for supports from people with a disability and their families throughout County Clare. Due to the demand, the organisation adapted a strategy to develop services in local communities in partnership with families so that people with a disability could be supported in their own community. In 1994 the West Clare services were opened with a centre based in Hector Street in Kilrush. This initiative made it possible for people to stay in their own community surrounded by their natural network of supports and to access employment, housing, training and care supports that met their needs. The north Clare services opened in Ennistymon in 1997 with a mission to support people in their own community and to give others an opportunity to return home. Today the Brothers of Charity Services support people in towns and villages throughout County Clare with a clear focus on respecting the individual person and supporting them to be part of their own community.
Changes in service delivery.
The move from large institutional type care resulted in a number of community based group homes and a sheltered workshop opening in Ennis in the early 1980s. These developments gave those people who had to leave Clare an opportunity to return to their own county and to live close to their families and friends. People participated in activates like, woodwork, horticulture, ceramics and craft work in the workshop. Further training opportunities were available to school leavers through centre based rehabilitative training programmes. The services have evolved to a community-based one, with individualised supports and a real focus on inclusion and respecting people’s wishes and needs.
The organisation partnered with a variety of community organisations such as:
- Social Housing bodies – to provide housing to people that met their needs and that was in a location of their choice.
- Adult Education providers – to ensure people with disabilities could access mainstream educational environments.
- A Supported Employment service – to ensure people had access to paid employment.
A collaborative working relationship with the HSE was developed so that people with a disability were in a position to access resources that met all their needs.
The Ennis Rehabilitation Training centre received “centre of excellence” accreditation from the National Accreditation Committee in 1997.
The Clare Supported Employment Service was set up in 2000 with a mission to support people access mainstream paid employment.
Banner Housing Association was established in 2002 as a social housing provider primarily to provide housing for people with an intellectual disability from County Clare.
The organisation has changed how it supports people and the resources available to them are now applied in a more individualised person-centred way, respecting each person as a unique individual based in their local communities throughout County Clare.