Rebecca Loughry, specialist in social inclusion, HSE and Cork City Council
Our household is fairly lively in the morning as people head out to work, college and school. I am married to Robbie and we have three children, Sarah (24), Jack (18) and Joe (8). I do the school run before heading from home in Bishopstown to City Hall.
This morning, I chaired a meeting of the Traveller Health Unit (THU), comprised of HSE representatives and voluntary Traveller organisations in Cork and Kerry. We meet monthly and work on a plan to improve health outcomes for Travellers. The contrast between Traveller health and that of the general population is stark: Traveller women live on average 11.5 years less and Traveller men live on average 15 years less.
I head to Tory Top Road Library for the launch of the Ballyphehane Community Garden in the library’s enclosed courtyard. It’s a classic example of a joint initiative between the HSE, city council and local community development groups, in this case the Ballyphehane Togher Community Development Project. A range of people took part in the planting, including a children’s creche and the COPE Foundation. It’s important to celebrate these projects — they’re a great example of community spirit and social inclusiveness.
Lunch is a chicken sandwich on the hoof.
We’ve a planning meeting to discuss implementing Pure Cork, a six-year action plan to guide economic and community development in the city. It has a number of goals and one of the areas I’m involved in is Social Inclusion and Equality.
With the help of a great team, I manage the HSE’s social inclusion services which include addiction services, homeless services,Traveller health, inter-cultural and LGBT services. We are currently seeking Rainbow Status for the city.
Cork City Council was the first council in the country to raise the rainbow flag above a public building and the first to come out in support of the marriage equality referendum.
I meet with the various stakeholders to review where we are in terms of providing additional supports in the city for those who suffer from a combination of homelessness, addiction, and mental health disorders. They’re a particularly vulnerable group and while there are good services in place, the demand is growing.
I head home to the kids and the usual ferrying to various activities, homework and dog walking. I enjoy running and hope to do the full Cork City marathon next year.
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