August 18

Matt Talbot Services Summer/Autumn Newsletter 2010

Posted by: Editor | Wednesday, August, 18, 2010 | Share / Save this article

Welcome!! We at Matt Talbot Services would like to welcome you to our Summer/ Autumn Newsletter. The last two months have been very exciting for Matt Talbot Services and a lot has happened. There has been a lot of new developments, new beginings and unfortunately some departures.

New Developments

New Day Programme Launched

A new training & activity programme was launched in Summer 2010 in conjunction with Probation Service & FAS. This is a highly structured day programme for young males aged between 16 and 18 who are involved in the Juvenile Justice System.  The focus is on reducing offending behaviour through appropriate interventions and linkages into services.  This aftercare service is currently delivered by full and part-time staff; Don Whelton, Mary O’Regan, Hilda Baker, Mandy Graham, and Paul Kingston and a number of part-time VEC tutors.

The programme provides a wide range of FETAC Level 4 education and training such as computers, communication skills, woodcraft and biology.  The boys also have the option of sitting for their leaving cert here.  The young people develop their individual education plans which meet their needs and goals for the future.  In addition, there is an emphasis on the benefits of sports on well being and the centre contains a gym, this aspect is guided by two part-time sports coaches who work with the boys.  The emotional needs of the young people are met with counselling sessions.

The boys attended an Interagency Tournament in Limerick with Ceim ar Ceim on the 14th October 2010 where they competed with teams from all over the country and reached the semi finals.  Now, along with their soccer coach, they are looking to organise a tournament themselves.

The young people also visited the Maritime College in Ringaskiddy Co Cork on 19th November 2010.  They were shown various rescue techniques as well as fire fighting.  They were also given a talk on life in the Navy and the benefits that it could bring.  During the New Year the centre will open its door to a Masters student in Guidance Counselling from University College Cork’s Department of Applied Psychology.


We have joined the family support network which was launched in City Hall in November 2010 and was attended by our Father’s Group with group facilitator Patrick Cooney.  We are a leading and key group in this network and have began engaging with more services around the city.

Our Father’s and Mother’s groups are proving very successful and providing an outlet for the respective parents of young people in our service.  These take place on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

A psycho educational group is run by Fionnuala Sheehan on a Monday over 7 weeks for parents of boys who will engage with residential treatment.  It looks at nurturing behaviours within the family.

Spreading the Word

Olive O’Riordan, the Manager of Cara Lodge has been invited by Dr. Ciara Staunton, Centre for Adult Continuing Education, University College Cork to deliver a lecture in mid December on her work to the Diploma in the Psychology of Criminal Bahaviour class. 
Olive also did a presentation titled ‘Young People-Substance Abuse and Misuse’ on an Understanding Juvenile Offending Workshop at Griffith College Cork in November.
In January MTS will again travel to UCC this time to the Law Faculty to address the LLM Criminal Justice Class.  The lecture will involve a general overview of MTS and our perspective of the impact of addiction.


One young graduate from Cara Lodge came in to talk with the boys about his experiences and his journey from Cara Lodge to UCC where he is now studying for his degree in Youth and Community.

Psycho Educational group work continues to run every Tuesday morning.  Core areas of discussion and activities are drug types, drug use, anger management, communication, and relationships.  Young people also request other topics, these have included natural highs, long-term effects of drug use and a request for sexual health information.  The group report they find group discussions informative, interesting and at times challenging.

A parental support service, for the parents of the young person in treatment in Cara Lodge, was reintroduced in July 2010.  This service offers parents an opportunity to explore their needs and develop skills to support and enable their sons to make alternative life style choices.  This level of support provides valuable insight into the changing and on going needs of the individual and the family.  However, this is a new service and funding is being sought to sustain this.

Sharon O’Donovan,Child Care Coordinator is completing a Sexual Health Awarness Course with the HSE, this intensive programme will help the organisation develop robust policies for dealing with young people and their sexual development.

The boys recently built a working Go-Kart with the help of staff members Mike Fox and Paul Kingston.  Well done.

Young People’s Trabeg Lawn Achievements Awards 2010

On 21st April 2010 Trabeg Lawn had the honour of awarding 18 remarkable young men for their achievements following treatment both at Cara Lodge Treatment Centre and on an outpatient basis in Trabeg Day Service. This was an extremely special day and the celebrations were marked by the presence of the young people’s families and guests, Matt Talbot Services staff, Board of Management members, Politicians and dignitaries. We were delighted to have the wonderful Lord Mayor Counsellor Dara Murphy and his beautiful wife Lady Mayoress Tanya Murphy who very kindly presented the achievement Awards to the Young People. Dermott O’Connell (Board of Management Member)commenced the proceedings by welcoming everyone and spoke of how honoured he was to be present for the Young People’s awards. Following this Edel Foley (Manager of Trabeg Lawn) gave an uplifting and emotional speech about the journey of each young person and more importantly their incredible courage, determination and resilience. She also spoke about each individual young person’s achievements and how proud the whole of the Matt Talbot Services were in being ‘a little nugget’ in hopefully assisting the young people reaching their true potential.

Edel gave special recognition to the young people’s families and acknowledged their courage in trusting the MTAS staff’s direction at times when it was difficult; for hanging in there in times where they felt like throwing in the hat; but most of all by never wavering in their true love for their children.

Edel also gave recognition to certain staff members who helped make the day possible: She spoke about Geraldine Ring (Director MTAS)as being the vision behind MTAS services. She recognised the Board of Directors and their tireless work for the organisation. Cara Lodge, with special thanks to Olive O’Riordan for very kindly offering Cara Lodge as the venue for the special day and also Paul Kingston for constructing the ‘WALK OF FAME’.

Jason Cowell, Counsellor,is facilitating the creation and painting of a mural in our waiting room in Trabeg.  A group of young people from Jason’s after-care sessions are returning to help design and draw this mural.  They have very positive outcomes from their treatment and would like the mural to be an inspiration for other young people who are starting out in MTS.

Lord Mayor Awards

Lord Mayor of Cork, Dara Murphy, has very kindly chosen MTAS to be one of his chosen voluntary organisations in 2010, and we received an award of €600 which has contributed to the refurbishment of the waiting room at our premises in Trabeg Lawn, Douglas.

‘Heal Your Life’

Funding has been secured to run the Louise Hay, ‘Heal Your Life’ programme.  The Louise Hay ‘Heal your life’ program is a personal development course run by MTS for mothers of the young people attending both the day service in Trabeg and residential treatment in Cara Lodge.  The course helps these mothers identify their limiting beliefs about themselves and about life through a variety of exercises - learn to change those beliefs to ones that build happier, more successful lives.

These mothers then can lead by example so that their son’s will be inspired and motivated to improve their own lives through upskilling and education.

“Every thought we think is creating out future” - Louise L Hay.

Heroin Awareness Training

Heroin Awareness training was held in late August, this was delivered by Merchant’s Quay Ireland and our partner agencies were also invited to attend.  Attendees included An Garda Siochana, Young Person’s Probation, Fellowship House, Orga Chorcai and Tabor Lodge.  The workshop provided a great insight to the issues surrounding heroin use.  Topics covered included; What is Heroin; the History of Heroin; Heroin; The Irish Situation; Heroin and Withdrawals; Heroin and Safer Injecting.  Many thanks to all for their participation.


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