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DESSA

DESSA

Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency

Raphoe Case Study - Donegal

Selection of Raphoe as a Case Study

Raphoe Family Resource Centre was chosen by DESSA as a suitable case study within the Steps to Mainstreaming Participation Framework. It was agreed that all those involved in implementing, coordinating and participating in the programme would be included. In terms of interview style, the course co-ordinator and facilitator of the programme were interviewed on a one-to-one basis and the programme participants were interviewed in a group setting.

 

Background to the programme

The group has been running for two years and the Department of Social and Family Affairs have approved funding for a third. The majority of participants in the group may be described as moderately to severely intellectually impaired, or having learning or concentration difficulties, with some having more than one disability. Of the group of 13, which started out in the Steps Programmes in Raphoe, Co. Donegal ten stayed to receive certificates for completion. Two have since left, one for personal reasons and one woman has started a catering course away from home.

 

The co-ordinator stated that the Programme was opened up through ongoing support and a launch pad provided by DESSA. Information is readily available and has provided assistance with upgrading policies and procedures. Advice, signposting and training are provided to run the programme.

 

Description of the area – location, CDP and CSO Data

A significant number of people with disabilities living in the area are older people. Of those 1,065 persons living in Raphoe, 132 persons have reported having a disability, which is 12.4% of the population. This is higher than the national average of 9.3%. A breakdown of the numbers of persons with a disability in Raphoe by age group is illustrated in Table 11.

 

Table 11 - Number of people with a disability living in Raphoe categorised by age group and as a  percentage of the total number of people living in Raphoe, 2006

Age 0 – 14 15 – 24  25 - 44 45 - 65 65+ Total
Nos. 15 9 32 41 35 132
  % of total
population
living in Raphoe
% of total
population
living in Raphoe
% of total
population
living in Raphoe
% of total
population
living in Raphoe
% of total
population
living in Raphoe
 
% 1.4 0.8 3.0 3.9 3.3 12.4

Source: Central Statistics Office (2006) Small Area Population Statistics.

 

Description of the programme

In Raphoe, the centre co-ordinator described the programme as ‘value for money’. He believes each Steps participant is contributing to an enriched experience in the Family Resource Centre. He notes that as theProgramme is run outside of the house or residential centre the participants are living in, it is more beneficial to them. The FRC Coordinator considers individual outcomes for each participant as essential in planning the programme. Some participants live in households where siblings or parents also have a disability (Autism Spectrum, Parkinson’s Disease, learning disability).

 

Funding

The Family Resource Centre provides individual travel to the programme for each participant. This is usually through a personal taxi service. Raphoe FRC estimates the cost at over €2,000 a year. Many voluntary organisations and not-for-profit organisations have fleets of vans, which are idle some of the day and are not shared with other organisations, despite public investment in those same organisations. The use of cabs, however, means that people are not being ‘bussed’ into centres involving long journeys.

 

Costs for PA’s are built into funding applications. This ensures participation of people with disabilities at meetings. In a third application for funding Raphoe has incorporated reasonable accommodations to ensure that if a persons’ condition deteriorates over time, they will be catered for.

 

Responses from participants

Equality of participation in the group appeared strong along with the importance placed on decisionmaking for individuals in the group. A participant described the setting for the Programme as ‘a nice place’. One participant commented on the feeling of ‘belonging’ in the group and described each member of the group as equal, adding: in the time spent in the group, others don’t talk over you and include you.

 

Skills and learning

Activities in Raphoe include role-play, golf, karaoke, music, first aid, indoor barbeque and Christmas shopping. One woman with a physical disability reported on the difficulty in accessing education in the past. She stated that she: ‘can catch up on skills and education in the group.’ Voter participation was incorporated into the group through allowing each participant to vote on their Christmas shopping location. However, when the group were asked to discuss work and training the group described the programme as ‘more relaxed atmosphere than work, not as tense – or sitting in a quiet room’. The group appeared to be a place for some of the members to express themselves. The facilitator stated that for one male participant the group session provided a sanctuary every week.

 

DESSA promotes the employment of people with disabilities to run their Programmes. A person with a disability facilitates the programme in Raphoe, the group were able to relate better with people with disabilities and involve themselves in the programme. At the closing stages of the Making Choices Programme a certificate ceremony was organised, where participants who completed the programme were awarded with a certificate and photographed.

 

Programme Outcomes

The facilitator reported that many attending the group are upset at how they are being treated outside of the group and this rejection can impact on a person’s life. The Family Resource Centre provides a framework of support and information when an individual leaves a residential service or home.

 

Raphoe, with a very experienced facilitator-tutor, is successfully imparting participation skills to members. A part of this is done through practicing role plays/micro drama, such as how to meet a doctor to renew a prescription, how to argue without being aggressive or overly timid, how to hold on to your argument. This was displayed to us through a DVD recording. Concepts incorporated in the drama production included respect, advocacy, and confidence. Two members of Raphoe now sit on the FRC management board, and this is described as Community Development. A further participant has taken on a part-time work placement in a chemist. Others in the group reported becoming volunteers since their participation in the programme.

 

Some participants feel that that the group is a mainstream particiation framework group and that they do not have a disability. This is interesting as the Raphoe Programme aims to provide participants with support to become more involved in and enter the mainstream. As part of the work carried out by the Raphoe group, a campaign is underway to prevent lorries parking outside the door of the resource centre.