Even as the country emerges from several years of deep recession, demand for addiction services continues to rise. Coolmine has sixty adults and eleven babies living with us currently in our residential facilities – thirty four men in Coolmine Lodge and twenty four women and eleven babies in Ashleigh House Damastown. In collaboration with strategic partners and in addition to our residential services, we provide a wide range of services along a continuum of care, including day programmes, nursing service, counselling, career guidance, job and training opportunities, housing and family support. Over fifty people attend our outpatient programmes daily in Dublin city. We offer the only mother and child residential service in Ireland, catering for women with children and pregnant women who are seeking help with addiction. 57% of Coolmine clients are from counties outside Dublin.
Responding to clients’ presenting needs are at the core of our work. We work with people who are vulnerable, marginalised and often from dysfunctional backgrounds with complex medical and psychiatric needs. We see a prevalence of second and sometimes third generation families with addiction problems. Our work, especially in Ashleigh House, provides us with the opportunity to break that generational cycle of addiction, through working with parents and their children.
Increasing difficulty with accessing safe and supported housing when clients have completed a minimum of five months residential rehabilitation is a cause of continuing concern. Coolmine provided services to over 9,000 individuals in 2016 through our outreach services, pre-entry group support placements, our assessment and referral interventions and our drug free day programmes. We continue to see a significant number of admissions from the Irish prison estate. To provide local support in Dublin 15 to individuals with dependent alcohol use, Coolmine provided a Community Alcohol Programme (CAP) and worked with a total of 55 clients, 71% being from Dublin 15/Dublin North area. 264 individuals progressed across the organisation to step down, aftercare and graduate services, as their care plan progression and recovery supports were in place.
Coolmine has an established research culture and this year work continues on a Parents Under Pressure programme evaluation with Trinity College Dublin and Griffith University, Australia. The results of which will be published in 2018. The two year TCD/Coolmine Longitudinal Study “Pathways through Treatment” which we published in 2016 provided evidence based research which demonstrated to government, our stakeholders and taxpayers that treatment actually works, not just for individuals, but for families and communities and broader society in Ireland.
Some key findings were:
• 72% of Coolmine clients remain illicit drug-free two years after treatment
• 98% of clients were not engaged in criminal activity after 24-months
• Client employment rose from 3% at intake to 25% after 24-months
• Engagement in education rose from 2% at intake to 17% after 24-months
We remain focussed on quality services to ensure the best possible outcomes for clients. Critical to best outcomes is our continuous staff training and development programme. Effective governance is essential in order to achieve Coolmine’s vision that everyone should have the opportunity to overcome addiction and lead a fulfilled and productive life. In 2016, our Board took initiatives to ensure good governance including a review and evaluation of Board performance by the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) review and evaluation of Board performance. As well as active Standing Board Committees, Audit and Risk, Finance and Clinical Governance, we established seven ad hoc Working Groups in 2016 to address emerging issues. In addition, in 2016 we reviewed our safeguarding vulnerable adults’ policy, client complaints policy, as well as whistle-blower and disciplinary procedures.
We comply with the triple lock of good governance recommended by the Charities Institute of Ireland and the Charity Regulator – namely compliance with the Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland, the Statement of Recommended Practice for Accounting and Reporting by Charities (SORP) and Fundraising Principles.
Our quality standards are audited by the Royal College of Psychiatry (UK). CCQI accreditation was awarded by the RCP(UK) for the highest clinical standards to our men’s residential Coolmine Lodge and to Ashleigh House centre for women and children.
This is the first year of our ambitious Strategic Plan 2016-2018. An update on implementation of the Plan is presented for approval at every Board meeting. We contributed three submissions to the Department of Health consultative process on the new National Drugs Strategy – one from Coolmine, one from our Parents Support Group and one following consultation with the our clients.
Our Chief Executive Pauline McKeown was on maternity leave for most of 2016. The Board of directors wish to sincerely thank Amy Roche for her effective stewardship from January to September 2016. Darren Connolly resigned in 2016 after 6 years acting as our financial expert on the Board. We thank him for the significant role he performed. On behalf of the all board members, I wish to express thanks to our skilled and consistently committed staff, under the excellent leadership of our Chief Executive.
Coolmine board members contribute their time and expertise on a voluntary basis and I thank each one for their guidance to me and their strong commitment to achieving Coolmine’s objectives.
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