The Irish Chaplaincy has a unique role to play in supporting older Irish people, including some of those with the most complex needs in a way that is holistic, open-ended and which includes the possibility of spiritual support.
CAMPAIGN FOR OLDER PEOPLE
A special thank you
We’re extremely grateful for the people and organisations who donate generously. If you’d like to talk to us about making a donation or have any questions feel free to contact us.
020 7482 5528
About our campaign
Thanks to a grant from a funder we were able to commission a thorough review of the Irish Chaplaincy Seniors Project (ICSP) in June and July 2017. Consultant Sharon Tuppeny interviewed many stakeholders, mainly the seniors themselves, and she concluded:
The review process has highlighted the continuing significant need within the Irish elderly community, a need that continues to increase for a variety of reasons. The review has also revealed a pronounced lack of provision in certain areas. It is clear that the ICSP does not have the resources to make the fullest contribution to meet these needs or meet the original brief of the Seniors Project as initiated in 2005.
The review confirmed that the ICSP has a unique role to play in supporting elderly Irish people, including some of those with the most complex needs.
Other Irish and non-Irish organisations often refer people to us in recognition of the type of help we are able to give, and holistic way we work. One stakeholder in the report said:
“(ICSP) …connect with Irish elders in a way we (other provider) might not and certainly in ways the social workers don’t.”
Fr. Michael O’Connor, parish priest of Sacred Heart R.C. Church, Kilburn, wrote:
“The Irish Chaplaincy offers a unique service supporting isolated older Irish, as they are aware of the particular spiritual needs of older Irish, which can be essential in supporting their clients improve their mental health.”
And Ben Bano, who chairs the National Spirituality and Mental Health Forum, noted:
“Spiritual well-being has increasingly been seen as helpful in sustaining mental health, particularly in old age. Recent research suggests a link between spirituality and prevention of depression. This is particularly relevant to communities such as the Irish community where there is often a stigma associated with depression.”
The report also drew attention to the ICSP’s good track record in bringing together various stakeholders and bodies to in the interest of those being supported, with one family member mentioning:
“We’ve had more success since he got involved. The social worker has come and gone but Paul (from IC) got her to the Irish Centre for a St Patrick’s Day meal, found her a cross of her favourite saint, now she’s willing to have ICAP when she wouldn’t talk to anyone else.”
Another stakeholder added:
“I wish everyone could have a Chaplaincy caseworker – they manage to get services in place for their clients like no one I have ever worked with.”
Expansion of ICSP
The ICSP reached out in 2020 to 200 elderly Irish in over 20 London boroughs (up from 110 people in 2017).
Thanks to Sharon’s report and a grant from City Bridge Trust we were able to appoint a second salaried worker, who as well as identifying and supporting new clients, has been recruiting and training extra volunteers, which frees up the Manager to develop our partnership working and education/ awareness raising in a variety of areas. There is a particularly fruitful partnership with Caritas Westminster, and we have been approached by Age UK Westminster who wish to make use of our expertise. There was also, prior to the pandemic, an increased presence in care homes which have significant numbers of elderly Irish; and the start of a lovely partnership with Holy Family primary school in West London, whose children made pictures and messages to send to people during the lockdown.