Focus Ireland’s annual Shine a Light
initiative takes place this evening – a
hugely important fundraising and awareness campaign for the charity.
According to the latest Focus Ireland press release,
the number of homeless in Ireland in August 2016 was 6,611 and this has risen by
57% to 10,338 in August 2019.
2,263 children were homeless in August 2016 and this
has jumped by 70% to 3,848 in August 2019.
We can only imagine the impact that this is having on
the charity and on the frontline staff who work tirelessly to support the
individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.
Always mindful of supporting practitioners, we recently
applied for a grant from the ESB’s Energy for Generations Fund to part fund a
four-day brief intervention training course specifically for Focus Ireland
We have now received a grant of €5,000 to provide
training to a further 32 Focus Ireland staff so this will bring the number of
workers in the homeless sector whom we have trained to 269 to date.
Our evidence-informed ‘Adopt a relational approach,
Build, Listen and Empower’ (ABLE) training model gives staff the skills,
confidence and ability to support service users through personal difficulties
while managing their time and boundaries – which is vital in preventing staff
Using core communication skills like active/reflective
listening, empathy and understanding, workers in the homeless service learn how
to engage with and support those who turn to them for help, nurturing trust and
rapport to build service users’ capacity and resilience.
The training supports Focus Ireland’s commitment to
the principles of a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) by providing a
reflective space for workers to consider the emotions, personalities and past
experiences of service users.
The first three days of the training have already been
very well-received and we look forward to sharing our evaluation of the
training once the participants have completed the course in November.
We wish all who are sleeping out this evening in
solidarity with those experiencing homelessness a successful and safe night