Family support services to develop therapeutic spaces
Project Leader Sarah Cummins with Aoife Foley and Siobhán Feeney (Project Workers) and Ellen Ryan (Wellbeing Worker) at the Lorien Project in MacUilliam

Family support services to develop therapeutic spaces

THE development of therapeutic spaces for children and parents attending two Barnardos family support services in Tallaght is the focus of a €10,000 grant awarded through a local fund.

The Barnardos Child and Family Centre in Bawnlea and the Barnardos Lorien Project in MacUilliam, are developing and enhancing therapeutic, sensory spaces and resources within their services following a €10k grant from the Tallaght Fund.

Launched by the Síol Foundation, a social enterprise founded by Belgard entrepreneur Ed Dunne, the Tallaght Fund is a €100k annual investment into the creation of innovative, sustainable and inclusive projects within the community.

Some 13 grassroot projects were this year successful in their grant application, including Barnardos.

The sister projects of Barnardos in Bawnlea and MacUilliam are both directing the Tallaght Fund grant into the development of therapeutic, sensory spaces for the families they support.

The Lorien Project in MacUilliam is funded by the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force and the HSE Addiction Services to support children and families impacted by drug and alcohol misuse.

Work is carried out in family homes and at the project in MacUilliam.

Sarah Cummins, Project Leader in MacUilliam, told The Echo: “We have been working hard over the past two years to create a therapeutic, calm and welcoming space for the children and families who attend our service.”

With this in mind, the Lorien Project is using the Tallaght Fund grant to further develop its therapeutic spaces.

“When we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, we know that connecting back to our bodies and engaging our senses can often help us calm down and go back to ‘baseline’ – where we feel calm and alert”, Sarah said.

“This is why we have exercise balls, fidgets, aromatherapy diffusers, breath work, music and sensory materials readily available.

Anita Walker, Jodie Gillies (Project Workers), James Parkin (Project Leader), Melanie Callaghan (Project Worker) and Andrea Deering (Síol Foundation) in Bawnlea

“When we are calm and alert, we can problem solve and think about what we would like to do to change things. This is the case for children and adults.”

She added: “We are very grateful to receive the generous donation from The Síol Foundation to help us continue to create therapeutic spaces for children and their parents who attend our service.

“We have had an increase in referrals for older children more recently and need to create an appropriate space for them.

“We hope to use this funding to purchase furniture and therapeutic resources to create spaces for children to explore the connections between their heart, body and mind and be aware of what they need to do to regulate themselves or get back to ‘baseline’”.

James Parkin is the Project Leader in the Child and Family Centre in Bawnlea, where between 30 and 35 families engage with the project at any one time.

Funded by Tusla, the Bawnlea project supports families with a level of need or who have been impacted by trauma.

This Monday, March 7, the Bawnlea project is starting the Just Right State programme, which helps children learn how to self-regulate, or manage their emotions, through the use of sensory activities.

The programme, which has groups for children and parents, uses an array of therapeutic resources like yoga balls, which have been purchased through the Tallaght Fund grant.

According to James, the programme hopes to support families who may be overwhelmed and are finding it difficult to engage with each other and services.

“[The programme can help] families to be in a position to take on information, manage emotions better and engage with others in a more meaningful way,” James said.

Alongside supporting the delivery of the Just Right State programme, James believes that the therapeutic room and resources in Bawnlea will provide a positive, calm and flexible space for all families using the service.

Learn more at barnardos.

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