We are delighted to report that we have received a €5,000 grant from ESB’s Energy for Generations Fund to part fund a four-day brief intervention training course for Focus Ireland frontline staff.
Each year ESB’s Fund awards €1m in direct funding to charities working in the areas of suicide prevention, homelessness and education access and support.
Last year, we subsidised and delivered training to 27 Focus staff in Dublin, Cork and Waterford with the support of the Energy for Generations Fund.
A further 32 Focus Ireland staff will now avail of our evidence-informed ‘Adopt a relational approach, Build, Listen and Empower’ (ABLE) training under a collaborative shared funding arrangement between all three organisations.
Dr Maeve Hurley, founder of Ag Eisteacht said: “We welcome this latest support from the ESB’s Energy for Generations Fund. Frontline staff working with families, young people and children at risk or affected by homelessness are under unprecedented pressure today so we hope that our training will go some way in supporting them and their service users.
“We will now be able to equip 32 more Focus workers with the skills, knowledge, insight and a framework to manage interactions with service users so that they can build quality relationships – and look after their own resilience and wellbeing, which is vital in preventing staff burn-out.”
Research shows that relationship distress and breakdown is often part of homeless service users’ experience. That experience, along with issues such as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and mental health issues can impact on homeless peoples’ ability to establish and maintain relationships, both with workers and with friends and family.
Our ABLE model gives staff the skills, confidence and ability to support service users through personal difficulties while managing their time and boundaries.
Using core communication skills like active/reflective listening, empathy and understanding, workers in the homeless service learn how to engage with and support those who turn to them for help, nurturing trust and rapport to build service users’ capacity and resilience.
The course covers evidence-informed insight into ACES, Toxic Stress, Infant Mental Health and the different stages of relationships so that those working with the homeless have a better understanding of the behaviours and patterns they are seeing.
Maeve said: “Our training supports Focus Ireland’s commitment to the principles of a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) by providing a reflective space for workers to consider the emotions, personalities and past experiences of service users.
“This helps them to understand and empower those who turn to them for support and gives workers a shared language and common approach which supports a consistent and compassionate response to service users.
“To sustain the project into the future and leave a lasting legacy in communities, we will continue to look at ways to increase our training on a national basis for those working in the homeless sector to support their work, staff wellbeing and outcomes.”
At Ag Eisteacht, which is the Irish word for listening, we have trained over 2,500 frontline practitioners to date, including 237 staff in the homeless sector.