15 December 2017
By Bryan Smyth
SHARE (Students Harness Aid for the Relief of the Elderly), the organisation that cares for Cork’s older people in 146 secure housing units around Cork this week launched its traditional 48th Fast & Fundraising campaign at the SHARE Crib, Daunt’s Square, Cork, (near Grand Parade).
Almost 1,800 fourth and fifth-year students from 21 Cork schools will be on the city centre streets up to and including Christmas Eve to raise funds for SHARE. As this is the only fundraising campaign the organisation undertakes throughout the year, they are once again appealing to the generosity of Cork people to support SHARE and welcome its students as they go about their fundraising task.
Ben Corcoran, the 17-year-old Chairman of the SHARE Executive (a group of 52 students drawn from various schools to run the campaign) has this year urged Corkonians to dig deep and re-ignite their commitment to Cork’s older people and ensure the continuation of SHARE’s extensive refurbishment programme which allows SHARE residents to remain in their own homes, and the continuance of the many services they provide for residents and the local community at The Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre in Sheare’s Street, Cork throughout the year.
As part of SHARE’s commitment to older people generally, and following the recognition of a need for a community-wide support network for people living with dementia, SHARE recently developed a model for student visitations with other people in the local community. The organisation has created an intergenerational dynamic of two students and one adult volunteer visiting the person living with dementia. These visitations are aimed to give safe and attentive care to the person in question and to provide relief for strained families and/or carers. After an initial trial period, the programme will see six people living with dementia receiving weekly two-hour visits under this initiative.
Another way in which SHARE extends the hand of support and hope to Cork’s older population, is through The Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre in Sheare’s Street, Cork, which can cater for up to 125 people weekly, providing a range of practical services, including medical and non-medical services, meals, a laundry service, social games and events, and a network of support to help them integrate into the community and meet like-minded individuals in a bright, warm environment.
Young Ben Corcoran, Chairman of the SHARE Executive said: “My fellow students and I are so proud to continue the tradition of support for SHARE, which has remained a student-led initiative since its founding in 1970. It is important for those who give so generously to realise that their donation goes towards maintaining 146 secure homes for at-risk older people in Blarney St, Shandon St, Blackpool, Grattan St, Sunday’s Well, Abbey St and Sheare’s St, and the Day Care Centre also at Sheare’s Street. It is our intention this year again, to raise funds for these programmes and to continue to support all the necessary projects in 2018.”
The Crib launch, which took place today (Thursday 14th December at 6pm), was attended by Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald and his wife, Lady Mayoress Georgina Fitzgerald, together with Bishop John Buckley and Reverend Robert Ferris, who joined the young students of SHARE at the ceremony at the specially-erected Christmas Crib at Daunt’s Square, Cork. The Army Band of the First Southern Brigade, under the baton of Captain Brian Prendergast, an annual treat which was enjoyed again by the citizens of Cork, played a selection of traditional Christmas carols to mark the occasion.
Members of the public, during the annual ten-day Fast and Fundraising Campaign, are invited to visit the SHARE Crib at Daunt’s Square, Cork or visit SHARE cribs at the following shopping centres, : Mahon Point, Merchant’s Quay, Wilton, Blackpool, Bishopstown Court, Douglas Court, Douglas Village Shopping Centre, Riverview Shopping Centre in Bandon and Ballincollig Shopping Centre, where any donations are welcome.
Alternatively, donations can be posted or delivered in person to SHARE, The Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre, 43 Sheare’s Street, Cork where acknowledgements will be issued immediately.
What is SHARE?
SHARE is a registered charity, founded in 1970 by students from Presentation Brothers College, Cork, who raised funds to try and make existing housing more comfortable. The organisation has gone from strength to strength since then, now encompassing 21 of Cork’s schools, whose students fast and fundraise annually at Christmas-time for SHARE.
SHARE’s 146 housing units, which are located around the city, are comfortable, secure and homely, with user-friendly bathrooms and security systems and overseen by SHARE personnel on an on-going basis.
The continuous maintenance and running of SHARE’s homes dotted around the city at Blarney St, Shandon St, Blackpool, Grattan St, Sunday’s Well, Abbey St and Sheare’s St is a constant commitment for SHARE, one it is happy to undertake to ensure residents can live in peace and comfort.
The last year has seen great development across a number of SHARE’s housing complexes. 20 bedsits in Blackpool, built in the early 1980’s, have been converted, with the help of Cork City Council, into modernised one-bedroom apartments, allowing elderly residents to live independently with support and security. These apartments were officially opened by Minister Simon Coveney TD in February of this year. Residents moved back in in February.
A number of housing units in Mount St Joseph and Dun Ris were also renovated and modernised to a high spec and refurbishment of Cnoc Mhuire included a resurfacing of the complex and new perimeter fencing was also completed. The work that had to be done to maintain these included re-roofing, flooring, lighting, tiling, bathrooms fittings, boilers, insulation and general repairs and this work is on-going and costly. There has also been work carried out to install ‘wet rooms’, which allow for greater accessibility. This is all in addition to maintaining the homes generally, along with the common areas, gardens and providing all the services listed here.
Over the past number of years, SHARE have noted a community wide need for support for people living with dementia and a call for their careers to remain in the own home. SHARE developed a model of student visitations with their residents. Following a 6 week visitation to three people living with dementia in the community, SHARE commenced an intergenerational dynamic of two students and one adult volunteer visiting the person living with dementia. These visitations are aimed to give safe and attentive care to the person living with dementia and provide relief for strained families/carer. The success of the pilot led to the full launch of the programme last October, with six people living with dementia receiving weekly two-hour visits in the local community weekly.
SHARE’S Day Care Centre
SHARE has also built the magnificent Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre on Sheare’s Street Cork which can cater for up to 125 older people who are living in their own homes in the vicinity of the Centre on a weekly basis. The Centre is a welcome community centre for its own SHARE residents to enjoy also.
Established in 2001 and offering a range of specialised care services to the senior citizens of Cork city, the Day Care Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 3.45pm. Availing of a range of medical and non-medical services, with a nurse at the centre every day, attendees have an opportunity to meet new friends in a warm, central and spacious environment.
Day Care Centre attendees are also free to take part in a wide range of activities, at their own pace, from exercise and dance, to arts and crafts, bingo, singing, card games, baking and more. Other services available include daily Holy Communion, physiotherapy, assisted bathing and hairdressing and a taxi service to and from their homes for those who need it.
SHARE Students commitment
The SHARE students, throughout their fourth and fifth years at Cork’s secondary schools, undertake a continuous caring programme during the year, with weekly visits to the Day Care Centre and to common rooms at SHARE’s other complexes or visits to the SHARE residents’ own homes, if that is what they wish. During these visits, the students and their older counterparts enjoy a laugh, play games or sit quietly together to discuss football, fashion or the ways of the world. SHARE sees this initiative as a very important part of its ethos, fostering intergenerational understanding and a genuine caring attitude in those who participate. Both sides feel they learn a lot from each other, and they learn to appreciate one another’s histories, and the ups and downs of life.