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Children’s respite centre in Athy officially opened by Minister

The Ardscull respite centre for children was officially opened last week by Anne Rabbitte TD, Minister of State for Disability in the Department of Health and Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

The Ardscull service has been running on a phased basis since 2022 and is managed by Kare, the Kildare-based organisation that provides services and supports to people with disabilities and their families. Minster Rabbitte attended the official launch of the Athy facility along with Senator Fiona O’Loughlin.

Ardscull supports children and young people aged between 4–18 with moderate to high support needs on short respite breaks. The house can accommodate up to five young people at a time who have physical, intellectual or neurodevelopmental disabilities, including two self-contained apartments for children with particularly complex needs, and a bespoke outdoor play area.

The young people are cared for during their stay by a multidisciplinary team who support their physical, emotional and social needs, including social care workers and social care assistants, as well as a staff nurse, play specialist and social care leader. The HSE-funded centre supports children from both Kildare and Dublin who receive services from the 11 Children’s Disability Network Teams across the Community Healthcare Area of Dublin South Kildare West Wicklow.

“I am delighted to officially open the Ardscull respite centre which will provide much-needed support to children who have disabilities and their families,” said Minister Rabbitte. “This vital service offers a safe and welcoming environment for children with complex care needs, and an important lifeline to families in need of extra support. I look forward to following the progress and impact of Ardscull as it helps to improve the quality of life of these families.”

Senator Fiona O’Loughlin welcomed the official establishment of the Ardscull service, commenting: “Respite care is essential and the opening of the Ardscull house is a direct response to the acute need for respite experienced by children and their families in this area. This is a huge help to families, who, despite their love and support for their children with special needs, sometimes need to avail of additional services to enable them to live their best lives.”

Kare CEO, Deirdre Murphy, commented, “At Kare, we work in partnership with people who have disabilities and their families to create a present and future that fulfils their personal potential. We know that many families are struggling and that having access to respite care can be a lifesaver. The Ardscull centre is an important part of our mission, providing a positive experience for the child, the carer and other family members, so that in the long term their relationships are supported.”


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