White Oaks in line for top award

Inishowen’s main rehab centre is in the running for a top award for its excellence by healthcare providers in the UK.

White Oaks Rehabilitation Centre in Muff which opened in 2001, has been short-listed in the annual “CHKS Top Hospital Awards 2012”, and the award winners will be announced a gala ceremony in London next month.

The centre at Derryvane, was the initiative of the Columba Community and its spiritual leader, Father Neal Carlin and around 200 key decision-makers from across the healthcare sector, including chief executives, senior managers and healthcare provider clinicians, will attend next month’s event.

Representatives of statutory bodies, volunteers and staff attended a function at White Oaks Centre last week when details of the CHKS accolade were announced by Fr Carlin, the Centre’s managing director.

Speaking at the reception Fr Carlin said: “This independent endorsement will, I am sure, be favourably noted by statutory bodies and agencies in the Republic, such as the HSE North West whose grant aid is crucial for us.

“We continue our efforts to have the Health Authorities in Northern Ireland contribute financially towards the treatment of the needy clients from their area who have difficulty in making a suitable contribution to the upkeep of the Centre and its good work”

Fr Carlin, in acknowledging the efforts of all of those involved in the achievement to date, said the Centre would continue its efforts, not only to maintain its high standards but to improve upon them. That, he said, presented a challenge, particularly in the present economic climate.

He added: “Immense gratitude is due to our highly professional staff and our many volunteers for their varied services. We are fortunate to have had from day-one our Board personnel, the support of our funding agencies, HSE, NW RDTF and Donegal County Council, and the Friends of White Oaks who have contributed to fundraising and supported us over the years. We thanks also the media, particularly our local radio stations and local newspapers, which keep the public informed of our service developments.”

The Columba Community has developed a number of different services for people on both sides of the border. These include Columba House of Reconciliation and the adjacent Y.A.R.D Project at Queen’s Street Derry, St Anthony’s Retreat Centre and the attractive Celtic Peace Garden and IOSAS Centre near White Oaks.

The nomination is a milestone in the Centre’s development and is seen as a vote of confidence in its rehabilitation programmes which have helped many hundreds of clients.

Rev Joe McCormick, a Spiritual Director at the Centre, said: “We’re overjoyed about the nomination. It’s a marvellous distinction for White Oaks. Simply to be short-listed and be in the company of other leading innovators is in itself a huge boost and I’m confident that the nomination will further enhance our reputation among our clients and the agencies and medical services who refer people to us.”

The award, which recognises improvements in patient care and patient experience as well as staff welfare, safety and morale, has been welcomed by the White Oaks chairperson, Marguerite Hamilton.

“This CHKS nomination is clearly a stamp of approval for the person-centred high quality content of White Oaks’ programmes and for the dedication of our staff and volunteers. Very importantly, it validates the financial, practical and spiritual strengths we receive from our supporters on both sides of the border. We could not exist without them.”

White Oaks, which is a cross-community initiative, provides residential treatment for adults with addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. Its services include counselling for the families of those with addiction as well as post-residential support for clients at White Oaks and three locations - Letterkenny, Donegal Town and Sligo.

For more information see www.whiteoaksrehabcentre.com