Déise Day Centre won the Mayor’s award at the 2018 Waterford Public Participation Network (PPN) Community & Voluntary Awards and will represent Waterford at the IPB Pride of Place Awards
Déise Day Centre won the prestigious Mayor’s award at the 2018 Waterford Public Participation Network (PPN) Community & Voluntary Awards held last November.
The Centre will now go on to represent Waterford at the IPB Pride of Place Awards – an all-island competition that acknowledges the work that communities are doing all over the island of Ireland.On a recent visit to the Déise Day Centre, it was clear to see why this Centre is held in such high esteem and has obtained such accolades. From its state of the art building at the Presentation Development Centre on Mitchell Street, the team of trained, caring and trusting people involved with the Déise Day Centre provide a hugely important service.
The Centre operates under the auspices of Dungarvan Care of the Aged Ltd. which was established in the early 1990s in response to a need for such a service for older people in the Dungarvan area. The aim of Dungarvan Care of the Aged Ltd. is to support the elderly to enable them to live in their own homes in comfort and dignity through the provision of a range of supports including day care facilities. For the first 15 years, this service operated out of prefabs located at the Presentation Convent site. When the Presentation Sisters decided to leave Dungarvan and close their Convent, Dungarvan Town Council acquired the site after it went up for sale. Dungarvan Care of Aged Ltd. bought a 999 year lease and the current purpose built Déise Day Centre building was opened in 2008.
The centre has gone from strength to strength and subsequent extensions have been added.
One of the overall objectives is to assist people living in isolation who may not have a social outlet and access to a good wholesome meal every day.The Centre has a mini bus and a people carrier which are used to transport people from throughout the ten mile radius which the Centre covers. On arrival at the Centre, visitors are greeted with a cup of tea, bowl of soup or alternative snack. This is followed by an activity; lunch at 12.30pm; and another activity in the afternoon. The Centre operates five days a week and offers a varied schedule which includes: yoga on Monday morning and live music in the afternoon; physical exercise on Tuesday morning and bingo in the afternoon; reflection and prayer group on Wednesday morning and arts and crafts in the afternoon; choir on Thursday morning and bingo in the afternoon; and painting on Friday afternoon.
The recent extensions at the Centre mean that up to 50 people can be accommodated comfortably on any given day.The Centre is open to all those aged 65 plus from Dungarvan and the surrounding area, with the average number of visitors each day between 30 and 35 and consisting of a good balance of both men and women. In addition to the team of volunteers at the Déise Day Centre, there are currently 13 employees through community employment schemes and six people employed by Dungarvan Care of the Aged Ltd.
The Centre receives funding from Pobal and the HSE but generates the remaining funds themselves.
There is a €5 charge per day which includes a meal plus social activity and free transport.
In addition to serving meals at the Centre, the ‘Meals on Wheels’ service brings a meal directly to people in their own home, five days a week, for just €5. Along with the ten mile radius which is covered by the Centre, this service also includes deliveries to people at the Cluain Cairbre houses for elderly people in Ballymacarbry. In total, combining the meals served in-house at the Centre and those which are delivered as part of the ‘Meals on Wheels’ programme, 24,000 meals are now being served every year.
Manager of the Déise Day Centre Margaret Coffey explained that the ‘Meals on Wheels’ team can report back to the Centre if they notice any issues of concern during their deliveries.
“The call to the house is very important,” she said. “Some people may not see anybody else.”
The Centre also liaises with public health nurses who are out and about within the local community. A small scale Care & Repair service is operated through the Centre, using trustworthy volunteers to carry out small DIY jobs free of charge for older people in their homes. Jobs that volunteers can carry out include fixing shelves, changing locks, painting/decorating, moving furniture, gardening, etc.There is also a Visiting Befriending service which provides companionship to older people who would like extra social contact.
This service is designed to alleviate the negative impacts which loneliness has on mental and physical health.
The Déise Day Centre also provides panic buttons which give extra security and peace of mind to older people. A further example of the community involvement associated with the Déise Day Centre can be seen in how the Centre regularly links up with local schools.
Some years ago, in a project with St Mary’s Primary School, a book was published as part of an intergenerational project. Proving that they’re certainly a talented bunch, many of those who attend the Centre also participate in their own entertainment show at Christmas in the Town Hall Theatre.
Margaret outlined some of the benefits which she observes in those who visit the Déise Day Centre. “You‘d see major changes, especially in their mood,” she explained. “They gain more independence by coming here as they no longer have to depend on a family member to bring them somewhere at a certain time.”