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, writes:
“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, notes:
“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 adds:
“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.”
Future Expansion of ICSP
The ICSP currently supports 110 older Irish people across 21 London boroughs.
After Sharon’s report we are seeking funds to expand the project by recruiting a second full-time salaried post and several more volunteers, and we hope to increase the amount of elderly we support from 110 to 200 over the next three years.
The second salaried worker would be responsible for recruiting and training extra volunteers, supporting people, which would free up the Manager to develop our partnership working and education/ awareness raising in a variety of areas. The report concludes that:
There is… a pressing need, both in the present and the foreseeable future to support frail isolated elderly Irish people. The ICSP would be well placed to address these needs if additional resources were in place.