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Wexford sport and leisure programme benefitting service users

 A smiling service user is seated in a wheelchair holding a football. Aa coach holding a hurl is leaning in beside smiling.



Twenty-eight service users from Havenview (Enniscorthy), Croí an Tobar (Oylegate) and Westlands (Wexford Town) residences recently enjoyed a day’s sporting activities as part of a co-produced HSE psycho-social sport and leisure programme in Co Wexford.

Part-funded through Mental Health Ireland’s Kevin Plunkett Bursary Award, the first gathering of participants was facilitated at the Half Way House - Bunclody GAA club’s indoor arena. 

Enhance quality of life

Managed by the HSE South East Community Healthcare’s Mental Health Intellectual Disability (MHID) services, the activities are designed for people with specific complex needs. The programme has been designed to enhance the quality of life outcomes of residents through activation and sports interests.

Developed as a collaborative initiative between the individual, their family and staff, the project aims to promote inclusion and collaboration within the community setting. Beginning with an hour of functionally-related sports activity once a month, the programme will extend to fortnightly intervention and, over time, it is hoped to further develop the project across Co Wexford.

Speaking at the Bunclody Arena, Mick Mahon, Candidate Advanced Nurse Practitioner with the HSE South East Community Healthcare’s Waterford/Wexford Mental Health Intellectual Disabilities Team, explained that “various studies have shown that incidences of different types of behaviour and isolation decrease where residents of MHID units have been participating in and benefitting from programmes like this – part of which involves their families. It allows us to evaluate the changes evident from their loved one’s involvement. We have excellent services delivered at residences, and in the community, by a dedicated mental health and intellectual disability care team in Wexford, but we were keen to expand into using a psycho-social sport and leisure intervention programme based in the community.

"We are delighted to receive support from Mental Health Ireland, particularly as their bursary is named in memory of our late colleague Kevin Plunkett. Kevin served as diligent Area Director of Nursing for the Waterford/Wexford Mental Health Service and passed away 2 years ago. Kevin’s successor, Kasia Nolan, has similarly been instrumental in supporting quality initiatives across the mental health service.”

Mick added: “In getting underway with our programme in Bunclody, we also remember the late Mickey Connors, who passed away recently. A cherished resident of Havenview in Enniscorthy, Mickey would have been the first person to have his coat ready to go to an event like this. We look forward to Mickey’s family joining us at the May gathering in Bunclody, where we will formally name our project the Mickey Connors Sports and Social Club.”

Mick concluded: “The support of Bunclody GAA Club in facilitating us is also very much appreciated, underlining as it does the connection to community life outside the participant’s residential unit. We look forward to expanding this programme to the wider community in the near future, allowing us to include more participants, where we can provide further opportunities to improve quality of life outcomes to this complex specific client group.”