The Swan Centre spreads its wings
By Mary Dennehy
A UNIQUE family support centre in Tallaght, which has more than 1,000 people on its books, has after 15 years in cramped premises moved into its own dedicated space.
Based in Fettercairn since 2000, the Swan Family Support and Rehabilitation Centre has grown from grassroots level after members of the community identified a need to provide support to all family members and individuals under stress as a result of substance abuse.
The only service of its type in Ireland, Swan Centre has spent the past 15 years raising the importance of family support when it comes to treating addiction issues – providing holistic support not only to the person suffering from addiction but parents, partners, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters.
With 1,035 names on its books, Swan offers people dealing with addiction issues counselling, holistic therapies, support groups, child therapy, referrals, advocacy support, an outreach service, a listening ear and a cup of tea – all of which was provided from a homely but cramped, two-room premises.
However, last week, Swan moved into a new fit-for-purpose centre beside St Anne’s national school in Fettercairn which, officially opened by the Minister with special responsibility for the drug strategy, Aodhán Ó Riordáin TD, sees the service now working out of five counselling rooms, five holistic rooms, one child-play therapy room, office space and a kitchen.
Speaking to The Echo, Swan manager Eamonn White said: “This is such a positive time for Swan, this new premises will allow us to strengthen and develop.
“Family support is so important however, the HSE has yet to recognise this and does not provide us with any financial support for staff.
“I am the only paid member of staff, everybody else is on a CE scheme – which results in us training staff up to a very high standard and then we lose them when their scheme is over.
“I raised this with the Minister and stressed how families need support just as much as the person using a substance – this not only has a positive impact on the family and the person using the substance, but the wider community as a whole.”
He added: “We are the only service of our type in the country and the Minister was impressed with the amount of work we do here at Swan and heartened by the dedicated staff.
“We are meeting him over the coming weeks to continue the discussion on the importance of family support – and to try and secure funding.”
Last Thursday, Swan’s dedicated and well-trained team were joined by local politicians, members of the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, clients and the wider community to celebrate the future of this pioneering project – which is leading the way nationally in terms of family support.
Swan wished to thank the Board of Management at St Anne’s school for allowing them to use the premises, the local drugs task force for its continuous support, the Department of Social Protection, Tuas and Tusla.
Contact Swan on 4627999 or visit www.swanfso.ie.