Charity helping people with intellectual disabilities appeals for workspaces

Covid-19 regulations on social distancing mean Cope Foundation needs more spaces

Cope Foundation chief executive, Sean Abbott said the foundation is concerned at the impact the Covid-19 forced reduction in numbers attending day services across Cork city and county is having on their service users and their families. Photograph: iStock

Cope Foundation chief executive, Sean Abbott said the foundation is concerned at the impact the Covid-19 forced reduction in numbers attending day services across Cork city and county is having on their service users and their families. Photograph: iStock

 

A charity providing services for almost 3,000 adults and children with intellectual disabilities has appealed for assistance in securing temporary accommodation to allow it to continue to provide support in keeping with social distancing requirements caused by Covid-19.

Cope Foundation in Cork works with more than 2,800 children and adults with intellectual disability or autism in the city and county, working with each client, their family and local community to provide a broad range of services and support.

But since the advent of Covid-19 and the introduction of social distancing requirements, Cope Foundation has had to limit the number of people who can safely attend its day services, so now it is appealing to the business community in Cork for help.

Cope Foundation chief executive, Sean Abbott said the foundation is concerned at the impact the Covid-19 forced reduction in numbers attending day services across Cork city and county is having on their service users and their families.

“We are very concerned about the impact this is having on people and their families so we are now looking for suitable space to allow elements of our day services to be delivered in these new locations as an interim measure so that we can provide more services for people.”

Cope Foundation is appealing to businesses and groups to provide suitable, spare space for its day service – either on a sub-let or use on a pro-bono basis, he said.

“We are committed to doing everything we can for the people we support. Cork businesses and the community have always been supportive of us and now we hope they can help this worthwhile initiative to keep a sense of normality for the people we support.”

Mr Abbott said ideally the space would be private (not shared or used by others at the time), as well as being accessible for people with disabilities, equipped with bathroom facilities, available for use Monday-Friday during the daytime and accessible by public transport.

Co-ordinator of Cope’s Ability@Work Programme, Marian Hennessy said: “For the first few months of the initial lockdown my team worked remotely for safety reasons. When it was safe for us to resume our service we found we didn’t have adequate space for the team to do this effectively.”

Ms Hennessy instanced the response of the Trigon Hotel Group which made a function room at the Metropole Hotel on MacCurtain Street in Cork city available and said she hoped that others in the business community in Cork might be able to respond in a similarly generous manner.

“I contacted Kathleen Linehan in Trigon Hotel Group and told her about the barriers we were experiencing in terms of work space. Without hesitation Kathleen offered us a weekly space to use in one of their function rooms in The Metropole Hotel.

“The sheer size of this room afforded us the opportunity to do face-to-face work with participants. It would be great to see more of this happening across the city and county so that more services can be available for people supported by Cope Foundation.”

Derval McDonagh, general manager person-centred services and supports at Cope Foundation can be contacted at: 021 4643100 or headoffice@cope-foundation.ie.