Posted 10:15AM on Thursday 19 June 2014
Our new Wheatfield Short Break Service in North Belfast has been officially launched by the Health Minister, Edwin Poots, at a ceremony in Belfast Castle. This Service, which previously operated from Squireshill Crescent, more than doubles our capacity to offer respite support in the area.
Speaking at the ceremony Angela Duffy, whose daughter Stephanie has a severe learning disability, an autistic spectrum condition and epilepsy, said: “This service is so important. It gives me three nights a month when I’m guaranteed a full night’s sleep.”
Gemma Corr, who is her brother Colm’s carer, also has two daughters. She said: “This gives us a glimpse into normal family life. Thanks to the Short Break Service, we can go out as a family and do things that everyone else takes for granted.”
The Minister of Health, Edwin Poots, highlighted the important role carers play, “Carers are a vital part of the Government’s vision of providing support for people to live more independent lives, they also need time to have a life outside caring. It is important that their needs are recognised and understood and that they too are offered a choice as to how their needs can be met.”
Agnes Lunny, our Chief Executive, closed the event by saying: “It can be difficult for someone who is not a carer to appreciate the huge difference a short break can make. It gives families and carers the opportunity to get a break from the constant demand of caring and recharge their batteries, and it helps the person we’re supporting to gain a little more independence. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the individuals, charitable trusts, schools and corporates for their generosity in helping us to raise the funds to make this essential service a reality. We’re also so grateful to the Minister for taking the time to join us on this very special occasion.”
We’re so excited that this purpose–built Service will be opening its doors at the end of June after many years of planning and ten months of site meetings.
Pictured at the event (l–r): Bernice Kelly, Service Manager; Gemma Corr, family member; Paul Roberts, Managing Director; Agnes Lunny, Chief Executive; Minister of Health, Edwin Poots; Cecil Worthington, Belfast Trust; Angela Duffy, family member; Roy McConkey; Margaret Cameron, Belfast Trust.