The Community Inclusion Hub on the Kilmacrennan Road, Letterkenny was officially opened by Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath on Wednesday.
The Hub is part of the HSE Donegal Community Inclusion Training Services. The service has transitioned from a Community Workshop model to a person centred approach to day service provision for people with disabilities
Performing the official opening Minister McGrath stated ‘I am delighted to be here today to open this Hub. In order to have meaningful community inclusion for people with disabilities, the community must be included in the process and educated around disability. This is part of the purpose of the Hub. This Hub will empower service users with the necessary skills to live full and meaningful lives as equal citizens of their local communities.’
The Hub serves as a meeting point for service users, a place of planning and preparation for the events of the day ahead. Programmes and activities are no longer delivered within the confines of the building. Support is provided for service users to get to know people in their community, to live and work in the community, to access local services and facilities, and to contribute to community life and community associations.
This service mobilises a range of community supports so that service users have the widest choice and options about how they live their lives and spend their time.
The Hub was completed in 2016, following a capital investment of €930,000 to refurbish the building. €780,000 was spent on the internal upgrade/reconfiguration and €150,000 was spent on external fabric upgrades including new roof and increased insulation and replacement of heating systems.
A core group of 52 Service Users use the Hub on a daily basis; 25 of these have a base in the HUB, from which they access various programmes and activities in the Community.
A further 27 service users from Community Inclusion Services, Ballyraine come to the Hub to avail of classes and recreational activities. A number of community groups also avail of the Hub including the North West Alcohol Forum, and other disability groups and HSE groups such as the Early Intervention Team. Community and disability awareness events for businesses, families and professionals are also provided.
Meliosa McDevitt, Service User spoke regarding her experience of the Hub ‘Some of my personal goals are health and fitness related. I have so far taken part in a 5k, the North West 10k and a Mud Run. I organised a Mad Hatters Tea Party fundraising event with the support of my friends in the CI Hub. I am also trying new activities, classes and experiences and trying to increase my independence.’
Brendan Hone, HSE Donegal Training Services Manager said: ‘This is an exciting time for Community Inclusion Training Services in Donegal. The Hub is more than a refurbished building. It is a gateway to the community.
“It is a modern service that can respond to diverse individual needs. We do this through our person centred training programmes, individually tailored support plans and events to raise awareness in the local community. We are extremely proud of the changes we have made to date, which would not have been possible without the support of our dedicated team of staff, our service users and their families.”