COPE Foundation has announced it has commenced discussions with the people who use the services at QDS and their families about a medium-term plan to migrate those services to more suitable settings.
The charity, which supports 2,800 people living with disabilities across Cork, has announced the plans to improve services currently provided to people at QDS Services and Supports at Vicars Road.
An audit by the Cope Foundation of the Vicars Road site outlined a significant number of challenges with the infrastructure there that were compounded by the fact that many of those using the site had to travel long distances from the communities where they lived.
Cope Foundation said it has prioritised an evolution of its service to smaller, more locally-based hubs and daycare centres and in recent years, it has successfully opened hubs in Midleton, the City centre, Cobh and most recently in Ballyvolane.
New hubs are currently being finalised for Macroom, Ballincollig, Douglas and Blackrock.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also been a factor in the decision, with the number of people that can be safely accommodated on the site reduced.
QDS currently supports up to 160 individuals, ranging in age from 23 to 81.
The priority is to now engage with those individuals and their families to explain the rationale behind the changes and to keep them fully informed of the impact that those changes may have.
Sean Abbott, chief executive of Cope Foundation, said that they acknowledge that QDS has emerged as a community in its own right as a result of how services were hosted at that site over the years.
“However, many of the people attending there have to spend considerable parts of their day travelling on organised transport. There are also challenges in providing more individualised support where there are large groups of people coming together with very different needs,” he said.
“Our focus is on ensuring people get the support they need, closer to their own community. The money saved on transportation and the upkeep of an older site can be put to a much better use for their benefit.”
The organisation has commenced discussions with the people who use the services at QDS and their families about a medium-term plan to migrate those services to more suitable settings.
The Cope Foundation said that only when appropriate alternative in-community supports are in place will it vacate the site. Funds from any future sale will be used directly on improved services for the people supported by the organisation.