FIGURES from Trust for 2009 released to the Irish Examiner show it carried out almost 11,000 consultations last year, almost 7,000 of which were with Irish people and more than 3,500 with foreigners.
The service is person-orientated, and the charity meets on average 100 to 120 people weekly (about 5,000 throughout the year) in daily journeys through the city.
According to Trust founder Alice Leahy, time spent with people can range from dressings, advice on medication, housing and entitlements, referral to specialist services, assistance with washing/showering, foot-care (extremely time consuming yet hugely beneficial to those using Trust’s services), contact with families, doctors, community welfare officers, solicitors, hospitals especially emergency departments and explanation of medication. Human contact is a vital component of the work.
“While this would not be seen as structured outreach – all interactions lead to listening, advising and ultimately assisting people,” Ms Leahy said.
“Contact is also maintained with people in hospital, prison or nursing homes through visits, letters or phone calls,” she said.
Almost 4,500 showers were taken at the charity’s centre last year, but according to Trust, that the city does not provide public showers remains a serious area of concern. In 2006, the charity submitted a detailed proposal to Dublin City Council and commissioned an architect to draw up plans for public showers.
“The ability to have a shower and maintain personal hygiene is a fundamental right and critical to maintaining good health. Trust is not a public washing facility but provides shower facilities and cannot cope with increasing demand,” Ms Leahy says.
“Other European cities have these public facilities and given the innovative nature of the plans that Trust has prepared it is clear this could even become a signature service in Dublin.
“We have met Dublin City Council, the minister for the environment and other interests involved, and are continuing to work to seek to have these facilities provided. This is a need that is not being addressed,” she says.
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