Disability services charity Enable Ireland is facing a potential €1.5m shortfall following the enforced closure of its charity shops.
It has now appealed to people doing Covid-19 household clean-outs of attics, rooms and wardrobes to consider storing their unwanted items for donation to their shops once they reopen.
The national charity, which employs 1,200 staff and provides disability services to more than 8,500 children and adult with disabilities in 15 counties, had to postpone all fundraising events and temporarily close their 21 charity shops following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The shops are a vital source of income for the charity which said their closure has left it facing a potential loss of income of up to €1.5m this year.
Despite the challenges, the charity said its staff continue to support people with disabilities, through providing essential residential, respite, community living and family support, all in compliance with public health guidelines.
Niall Horgan, Enable Ireland’s director of services in Cork, Kerry and Kilkenny, said staff are still providing face-to-face supports where they can, but have developed online resources for the other scenarios.
“Where we can’t provide face-to-face support, our staff are finding creative and innovative ways to deliver clinical and therapy support for children and their families in key areas like physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy," Mr Horgan said.
"We’ve delivered therapy sessions via video and provided home support programmes over email or in some cases, hand-delivered support packs to people’s homes."
He said staff have been helping their adult clients from home by doing online tai chi, hair and make-up lessons, and music therapy groups.
"The ongoing contact and support is vital at a time when many people with disabilities are feeling very anxious and vulnerable to Covid-19," he said.
The charity said it is also working with the HSE to provide more home support packages and offer longer respite breaks, where possible.
Clinical and therapy staff including psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists have put together resource packs for families that are available on the charity’s website.
Enable Ireland has provided disability services in Cork for more than 50 years.
Their children’s services are based in the new Lavanagh Centre in Curraheen and its adult services are based in facilities in Little Island, Blackrock and Ladysbridge.
The charity works with 860 children and their families living in Cork city and county.
Their adult clients are provided with services including training, job coaching and therapies.