MORE than 22,000 meals were delivered by Clarecare staff in homes or in one of its centres in 2014.
That is just one of the more interesting statistics contained its annual report for 2014.
One of the most worrying conclusions is the fact that the charity is struggling to meet increased demand, while simultaneously experiencing cuts in funding.
Services are delivered by almost 500 staff members, with 370 employed as part-time home helps, 74 core staff and 33 as Community Employment Scheme (CES) participants.
In excess of 11,000 meals were provided in people’s homes by home helps and more than 11,000 meals were provided in the Clarecare centres last year.
Specialised social workers for older persons received 4,233 contacts in face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and written enquiries in 2014.
Clarecare general manager, Fiacre Hensey, acknowledged 2014 was an extremely difficult year for the charity, with the demand for services continuing to increase, coupled with the continued decrease in statutory funding.
Funding to Family Support Services alone has averaged a 3% cut each year since 2009. However, the number of referrals to virtually all Clarecare services grew in 2014.
Mr Hensey said Clarecare services are in high demand yet, despite funding cuts, the organisation has endeavoured to meet the demand and to anticipate future need.
“The apparent expectation from the statutory sector that more and more can be delivered with less and less has threatened to undermine the long established goodwill and trust of those in the community and voluntary sector. This will continue to be the greatest challenge for Clarecare in 2016,” he said.
Clarecare is the largest local voluntary agency providing a range of services including parents’ support groups, family support services, older persons’ services like home help, social work and day centre services, adoption services, citizens’ information centre, a counselling service, Bushypark Addiction Treatment Centre and charity shops.
In total, 195,341 home help hours and 41,013 home care package hours were delivered by the agency to residents in 2014.
Up to 941 adult counselling hours were provided by qualified counsellors.
Bushypark Treatment Centre operated at 95% occupancy and treated 132 people. The centre is a 13-bed facility providing a 28-day residential treatment programme for those addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
The majority of people treated in 2014 had alcohol/poly-drug addictions. Following treatment, clients attend a two-year aftercare programme, a weekly support programme run in 18 locations in Clare, Limerick and Galway. Up to 298 clients were supported by 48 trained volunteer facilitators.
The family support team of 25 professionals provide a wide range of services throughout the county. The model of working acknowledges that families can engage with Clarecare services at different levels and stages.
A total of 1,381 parents and children availed of the family support services in 2014.
A total of 8,490 queries from 5,221 individual callers were recorded at the Citizens’ Information Centre in Shannon.
While most of its services are delivered locally, some are provided to those living abroad, particularly in cases of information and tracing in adoption services.
Despite waiting lists, every effort is made to ensure that those in greatest need are seen as a matter of urgency.
According to Rev Ger Nash, chairman of the Clarecare board of directors, the organisation is operating in a very difficult financial world.
“The challenges have been met by flexible and innovative work practices in the whole organisation and by the very real generosity of staff who forwent payments of increments and pay increases.
“The organisation has been very fortunate in the senior management team, which is placed under the direction of the general manager. This team has been central in meeting the challenges of the past six difficult years.
“There are not numerous levels of management like other organisations of similar size. This ensures the maximum possible amount of funding is directed to the coal face of caring,” he said.
Clarecare liaises with numerous government departments, health insurers and the Killaloe Diocese to ensure the best use of available resources.
For more information on Clarecare supports, contact 065 682 8178 or visit www.clarecare.ie