30 August 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Cope Foundation is recruiting host carers for its Home Sharing initiative. The programme provides respite and short breaks for children and adults with an intellectual disability and/or autism.
The Cork based charity is one of the largest disability organisations in Ireland and currently supports over 2,800 people. It works in partnership with them, their families and local communities to provide a broad range of person-centred services and supports.
Home Sharing is when a family in the community opens their home to a person supported by Cope Foundation. The host carers are fully vetted, assessed and trained volunteers who are carefully matched with each child or adult looking to go on a short break. The breaks can be for a couple of hours, overnight, weekends or even longer. The scheme is voluntary, however host carers are paid an allowance which is tax free.
Tina and Liam Dunleavy from East Cork first opened up their home in 2020. Their son DJ has an intellectual disability and they wanted to give back.
Tina said, “Home Sharing benefits everyone, not just the person who is going on the break. We have a way better quality of life, we’re more caring. It doesn’t seem like a job, it’s like having a friend for our son. When DJ was younger, we really appreciated short breaks as it was good for us too, so we know what it’s like. We love our house being busy and we love having guests stay with us. It’s all about getting to know the person and what activities suit them. I hope that more people will get involved and open up their homes to people supported by Cope Foundation.”
Rachel Moriarty is the Home Sharing Coordinator, she said, “We believe that everyone has what it takes to be a host carer and to transform a life. We all had to make changes to our everyday lives because of COVID-19, however, some of us have had the extra challenge of looking after a person with a disability. Having a short break from this caregiving can be of huge benefit to the caregiver and their family. In addition, home sharing offers the child or adult an opportunity to widen their social circle, enjoy new experiences and try new hobbies.
Sean Abbott, Chief Executive of Cope Foundation added, “Host Carers don’t need to have experience of working with people with a disability. We’re looking for personal qualities such as being warm and caring, having time and commitment, being reliable and motivated to care. You can make the most unbelievable difference to a child and adult with a disability by providing them with a loving stable ‘home from home’ experience. We provide full training and ongoing support for host carers every step of the way.”
If you are interested in becoming a host carer, the Home Sharing Team will host an information day in the Metropole Hotel on Tuesday 27th September from 2PM to 7PM. For more information about Home Sharing visit https://www.cope-foundation.ie/HomeShare