Dungiven woman Betty Murphy had barely retired from her job as manager of Glenshane Care Centre than no sooner planned her next venture.
After 13 and a half years at the Dungiven organisation which provides day care for people with learning and physical disabilities, Betty has retired.
“I am sad to be leaving because it’s been like a big family and we’ve been through a lot together; a lot of ups and downs but, at the same time, it has been a privilege and an inspiration to have worked and met so many great people,” says Betty. “I have worked and met people who have been so brave in spite of their challenges - for some with profound disabilities - and I will always remember the good times we have had together.”
Over the years, the Centre has had to call on the generosity of the Dungiven community as it is only partially funded with a grant from the Western Trust, which Betty has always been grateful for.
“The Dungiven community has been very, very good over the years, and we have been especially grateful for that given the tough times that have hit since the recession,” she says.
Betty says one thing she won’t miss about retiring is the stress of having to balance a budget and the associated financial pressures.
“It has been quite pressurised at times, managing the books and the staff and having to do a bit of everything as well,” she says. “That’s the stressful side and I won’t miss that. The Board of Directors have been very good, but they are voluntary and have their own jobs, but they have been very good.”
Glenshane Care Centre opened in the late nineties and has 20 clients who receive care. Since opening, Betty says the centre has been a lifeline for many carers and their families in the Roe Valley area. She says she does worry for the future of the Centre given possible changes to day care for people with disabilities.
“The clients all mix well together but it seems the Western Trust isn’t happy about that because they have different needs, but I don’t agree because we know their needs at the Centre and we meet those needs and the clients are happy with that.”
Betty says it’s hard to believe almost 14 years have gone by, but says she will always be around as her son Damien, who has Down Syndrome, will still attend the Centre.
“It has been hard telling everyone at the Centre I was leaving, but I spoke to everyone about it and tried to make it easier for them. I know change is hard, but I know they will get used to the new manager,” says Betty.
Although just retired, Betty has her eyes on setting up a support group for carers.
“It has been a lovely journey for me, and came at the right time for me, but I want to take some time and relax and spend time with my family and enjoy my grandchildren,” she says. “I would like to start up a carers’ support group in Dungiven, which I think is something we really need so I am looking forward to that, but it won’t be for a while yet!”
Betty thanked everyone who she worked with over the years, those who received care at the Centre and their families, and everyone else involved in the Centre.
“Glenshane Care has been very good for me, and I’ve great memories,” added Betty.