Virtual Adult Service
On 20 March 2020, Enable Ireland had to close their Adult Service Centres as a response to Covid-19. These centres provided vital supports to the adults with disabilities who attend there, in many cases, every day. For many adult with disabilities, the centres were their connection to their community and provided opportunities to participate in training, personal development and to socialise with friends. Without the centres, many adults were facing weeks of isolation and loneliness.
Very quickly, staff in Enable Ireland Adult Services got together with volunteers from Microsoft Ireland to see how they could virtually reopen Enable Ireland Adult Services. In a few short weeks, using technology they opened up a virtual community centre for these adults. This enabled them to engage with activities at their local service centre from the comfort and safety of their own home.
The service was initially piloted in Dublin in April 2020 for adults accessing Enable Ireland’s day, residential and respite services. It was hugely successful and by the end of the year plans to extended to the rest of the country where Enable Ireland provide Adult Services, including Tipperary, Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry, were well developed. One year on, over 170 adult service owners access the virtual service and over 160 hours of services are delivered via the platform every week.
The programme of activities are selected and in many cases run by adult service owners themselves and reflect their interests. Daily and weekly timetables of activities include everything from yoga, art, Zumba, bingo, physiotherapy, quizzes, theatre and cooking. The creativity knows no end!
Year(s): 2020 - present
Target group(s): Enable Ireland provides services to children and adults with disabilities and their families from over 40 locations in 15 counties in Ireland. Covering childhood to adulthood their expert teams work with the individual and their family on a plan for each
Website or other online channels: https://www.enableireland.ie/virtual-adult-service
"People with disabilities have the same rights, hopes, dreams and futures just like anyone else and the Enable Ireland staff have encouraged me to become more independent and confident about myself. "
Normally the services provided by Enable Ireland include personal assistants, advocacy development, supported employment, mainstream education and training, and support during transition to adulthood from children’s services. Outcomes are measured by quality of life as determined by the service user.
Enable Ireland work with the person, helping them to access additional supports in their community and promoting valued roles for them within it. They do this by providing services within the community and not in isolation from it.
The range of services that Enable Ireland provides depends on the specific contracts in place between Enable Ireland and the HSE, and will vary depending on the part of the country a person is in.
The Virtual Adult Service allowed adults with disabilities to participate in activities at their local service centre from the comfort and safety of their own home - yoga, art, Zumba, bingo, physiotherapy, quizzes, theater and cooking are just some of them! The adults get to see their friends and meet new people from other service centres.
Type of product
Online resource Video clips / Films Course / Training
Brief description of the outcomes
Impact on target groups / Transferability potential
While day centres and hubs around the country are re-opening, Enable Ireland continues to provide a mix of face-to-face and virtual support for adults with disabilities.
Promoter of the initiative: Enable Ireland
Languages available: English
Website or other online channels: https://www.enableireland.ie/