Cope needs carers to open their homes for short visits

The host carers are vetted, assessed, and trained volunteers who are carefully matched with each child or adult.
Cope needs carers to open their homes for short visits

Cope Foundation is recruiting host carers for its Home Sharing initiative, which provides respite and short breaks for children and adults with an intellectual disability and/or autism. The Dunleavy family has opened up their home since 2020. Pictured are Tina and Liam Dunleavy with their son, DJ. Picture: Diane Cusack

Cope Foundation is recruiting host carers for its Home Sharing initiative. The programme provides respite and short breaks for children and adults who have an intellectual disability and/or autism.

Home Sharing is when a family opens their home to a person supported by Cope Foundation. The host carers are vetted, assessed, and trained volunteers who are carefully matched with each child or adult. The breaks can be for a couple of hours, overnight, weekends, or 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.”

Sean Abbott, chief executive of Cope Foundation, said: “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.”

The Cork-based charity is one of the largest disability organisations in Ireland and supports 2,800 people. It works in partnership with them, their families, and local communities to provide a range of person-centred services and supports.

If you are interested in becoming a host carer, the Home Sharing team will host an information day in the Metropole Hotel on Tuesday, September 27 from 2pm to 7pm. For more information about Home Sharing, visit: https://www.cope-foundation.ie/HomeShare

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