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Chairman’s Foreword:

Coolmine’s Vision is clear. We believe that abstinence is not enough. Coolmine’s Board members, management and staff are committed to a vision of recovery where everyone has the opportunity to overcome addiction and live a fulfilled and productive life. In practical terms this means creating pathways to treatment and developing recovery capital for our clients and their families. Our services are targeted at improvements in physical health and well-being, re-engagement with family, developing positive peer relationships, access to housing, gaining employment and accessing training and development. We are proud of the positive outcomes delivered in 2019.


Located in seven sites, we work with people who are vulnerable, marginalised with lived experience of trauma. Mental health issues, homelessness and physical health issues are prevalent. We also see a prevalence of second and sometimes third generation families with addiction problems. Our work, provides us with the opportunity to break that generational cycle of addiction, especially through working with mothers, fathers, and their children.

In 2019, we introduced additional outcome focused services to reach traveller community members and the homeless. Our service delivery includes, outreach, assessment, stabilisation services, detox placements, contingency management, cannabis and alcohol programmes, residential therapeutic community centres, through to aftercare and family support services, in line with our new Strategic Plan.

Leadership and ownership of strategic actions are taken by Subcommittees across the organisation who agree actions, identify challenges, make recommendations and review progress on key performance indicators. This work feeds into our Strategic Plan Implementation Group who evaluates progress of the entire strategy, The Board monitors progress of our Strategic Plan at every Board meeting.

National response

Following a strong campaign by Coolmine, we welcomed the commitment by the HSE National Service Plan 2020 to provide €1.2 million in

additional resources to deliver on the provision of additional supports for homelessness and addiction services in 2020. This included the establishment of a residential treatment service for homeless women and children in the mid-west region, commencing on a phased basis in 2020 with full year implementation in 2021. This will increase the number of treatment beds for homeless pregnant women and women with young children by 45% nationally.

Quality Assurance

Coolmine is committed to having safe and effective practices in place to ensure that quality and evidence-based care is provided for our client base. Clinical governance and reporting structures include a Board Clinical Quality and Safety Subcommittee and a Clinical Quality and Safety Group, Coolmine’s processes, procedures and reporting structures include client and staff feedback, to ensure continuous improvement of our services. Client feedback is reported directly into Board meetings by the Client Coordinator.

In 2019, Coolmine was accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatry UK, with CCQI accreditation having met the highest quality Therapeutic Community service standards in our residential services, Ashleigh House and Coolmine Lodge. We are the only service of our kind in Ireland to achieve this accreditation.


Continuing research

Coolmine has an established research culture and is committed to providing evidence and sharing knowledge of the impact of our services, our practice and also to influence national drug policy. Coolmine’s submission to the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs as a Best Practice example on the implementation of research on EU and national drugs policy titled ‘Engaging with Drugs Research to Influence & Implement Policy: A Case Study of Coolmine, Ireland’ has been successfully published. In 2019 our Chief Executive delivered a keynote address at the 26th European Cities Against Drugs (ECAD) Mayors Conference titled Pathways to Recovery.

In addition the Drugs Research Network Scotland invited us to deliver a keynote address at their symposium titled Whole-family interventions for children and families affected by parental

substance use. Coolmine management and staff also delivered six presentations at the 17th European Federation of Therapeutic Communities Conference “Everything Flows: Change in the Therapeutic Community for Addiction” in collaboration with KETHEA and ARGO in Thessaloniki, Greece. Further research papers are in progress and overseen by or Research Advisory Group.


Coolmine has a relentless approach to governance. We are working under the guidance of the Charities

Regulator’s Governance Code. Board members are appointed on the basis of skills, knowledge and experience. Systems and procedures are in place to ensure safety of our clients and also to ensure internal controls and manage risks through our Board sub-Committees: Clinical Quality & Safety, Finance, Audit & Risk, Research Advisory Group and Nomination & Evaluation.

Progress on the implementation of our Strategic Plan is monitored at every Board meeting. An annual evaluation of the effectiveness of our Board and sub committees takes place and is reviewed at our annual board away days. In 2019, this was conducted by an external consultant. A Board succession plan is annually reviewed.

A comprehensive staff training and development programme is implemented throughout the year, including mentoring and leadership programmes for management. We comply with the triple lock of good governance recommended by the Charities Institute of Ireland and the Charities Regulator. We comply with the Guidelines for Charitable Organisations on Fundraising from the Public, the Charity SORP Statement of Recommended Practice for Accounting and Reporting and the Charities Regulator Governance Code.


We would like to thank all of our stakeholders, our funders, donors and strategic partners for their continuing support and engagement with the work of Coolmine.

On behalf of the Board, I want to acknowledge and extend our thanks to our team in Coolmine. Staff bring an unshakable conviction, compassion and professionalism to their role every day. Our thanks also to our Chief Executive Pauline McKeown who provides strong and dynamic leadership.

Members of the Board of Coolmine contribute their time and expertise on a voluntary basis and I thank each one for their guidance to me and their strong engagement and commitment to achieving Coolmine’s objectives.

Cathy McEvoy

Author Cathy McEvoy

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