For over 25 years Derry couple, John and Eileen Devenney, opened their home to give respite care to local children and adults with learning disabilities. The couple, from the Braehead Road, are now retiring as respite carers from the Western Trust’s Child and Adult Placement services. They leave after making many great friends and countless fond memories.
Ann Marie McMenamin, Adult Placement Coordinator for the Western Trust said: “The Host Family Scheme started in the early 90’s as a ‘home from home’ community based shared care scheme to help support families with a learning disabled child. The scheme facilitated short respite opportunities ranging from a few hours to overnight stays and weekend breaks. As the years progressed the scheme evolved into offering care breaks for adults with learning disabilities. Today the structure of the programme is split into adult and children placement services.”
Ann Marie continued: “In 1992 Eileen and John were one of the first host carers to start providing respite breaks for the ‘Home from Home’ scheme, initially supporting families in caring for their learning disabled child. There was many challenges and complexities with providing care and building relationships with the families and the child receiving the care. John and Eileen always gently and respectfully overcame such challenges in a calm and assuring manner. They provided a safe and caring environment for the children, many of whom had very challenging behaviours.
“Some of the younger children continued receiving short breaks right through to adulthood, continuing their care with John and Eileen for ten years or more, such was the level of confidence and trust bestowed on the Derry couple. They were always accepted as a member of the family, growing up alongside John and Eileen’s own children.”
Ann Marie added “On behalf of the Western Trust I would like to sincerely thank John and Eileen, for their years of devotion to the service and to the children and adults within it.”
If you are interested in becoming an Adult Placement Carer, please contact Ann Marie McMenamin at the Western Trust on 028 7186 4362.