Saint John of God Kerry Services will be celebrating over 3 decades in Kerry with their service users, families, volunteers, staff and invited guests in the Ballyroe Hotel on the 30th of November 2017 .  This year marks the opening of our Monavalley Centre  30 years ago (opening 1987) which was the start of providing training and support to individuals in key skills which enabled individauls to secure various types of employment.  The services have evolved over the decades to now providing services right across County Kerry, bringing the supports required for each individual back to their own local community.   Presently in Kerry, 312 individuals with a disability access these services which are located in 9 regions in the county and provide 34 varying types of services ranging from day service, residential and respite to the men, women and children attending .

The Rotary Club of Killarney’s Wine and Art Night

We have kindly been accepted as one of the beneficiaries of the Rotary Club of Killarney’s ‘Wine and Art’ night. This event will be held in the Malton Hotel Killarney on Thursday the 30th of November. Fundraising provides us with the monies that allow us to enable various types of works throughout Kerry Services.


Summer kicked off with a bit of sea angling for the Dominick St crew. Not known for its abundance of easily caught fish, Fenit can sometimes surprise and provide plenty of excitement for hopeful anglers. This was certainly the case for Eugene O’Sullivan when he felt a tug on the line!!! The exciting thing about sea angling is that you never know what you’re going to catch.  To Eugene’s delight, a beautifully patterned Undulate Ray was on the end of his line.  Not to harm the fish, Eugene was using barbless hooks. This meant that the hook could be easily removed from the fish’s mouth and it could be quickly returned to the sea without putting her (it was a she…) through too much stress. Undulate Ray are considered an exotic and protected species in Tralee Bay. Tralee Bay is one of the few places in Europe where they come into to breed, so they are very special visitors and we really need to take care of them and try not to cause them any harm


Eugene O’Sullivan, Catherine Conway and Áine Murphy
Eugene’s Undulate Ray
Mark Bolger, Breda O’Sullivan, Catherine Conway,and Billy Galvin,
We didn’t catch fish every day, and some days there was only one fish caught between the whole group. Not to be put off by this, with a mixture of sheer determination and a bit of fish whispering Melissa Griffin showed that she could really do the business when the chips were down!!!! After a quick photo Melissa’s Dog Fish went safely back into Tralee Bay unharmed to continue its way.
Melissa Griffin and Eugene O’Sullivan
On days when the fish were not biting we were kept busy with the giant Spider Crabs that can sometimes be found at Fenit. Áine Murphy caught the first one……... Some were huge!!!!
Enjoying the fishing at Fenit are Catherine Conway, Mark Bolger, Billy Galvin, Breda O’Sullivan, and David Malone
(L to R)Mark Bolger, Oliver Fahey & Eugene O’Sullivan…..waiting for the big fish !!!
Nicholas O Sullivan and David Malone : Sometimes it’s a two person job keeping a fish on the line….
The fishing programme would not have been possible without the generous support of Tralee Bay Sea Angling Club. A very special thanks to Eugene Farrelly for lending us the rods and reels on behalf of the club. Eugene is an accomplished Master Angler with the club and has successfully represented Ireland at the Angling World Championships.



Some of the Roses that called to Monavalley
Big thumbs up for the Perth Rose from Eugene O Sullivan

Saint John of God Kerry Services held their annual golf classic at Killarney Golf & Fishing club on Friday 11th August 2017. There were a total of 57 teams signed up for the event.

Saint John of God Kerry Services would like to thank all the teams and sponsors for their wonderful support. Everyone had a great day and enjoyed the wonderful surroundings of Killarney golf and fishing club.

We would also like to especially thank our ambassador for the golf classic Mr Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh who played on the day, his participation is greatly appreciated.

All funds raised will be used to support the men and women in our local Kerry services.

Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh With his grandson Leon, Des Hayes (Volunteer) and Michael O Leary (service user)
Men's first place team Willie O Leary, Philip O Connor, Eamon Feeley and Niall Gilroy
Ladies Winning Team Mary Geaney, Vicky Coyne, Joan Fleming, & Mary Crowley
Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh With Staff, Volunteers & Services Users



Social Farming Works – this is one of the key findings of an Evaluation Report on Social Farming in Kerry, launched by Minister Michael Creed last week. A huge crowd turned out for the launch of the report on what was a fantastic day at George Kelly’s ‘Hazelfort’ Farm, at Ballymalis in Beaufort, Co. Kerry, where visitors got the chance to go on a tour of the farm to meet with participants, host farmers families, and a multitude of stakeholders involved in the social farming initiative. The report, which was prepared by Dr Brendan O’Keeffe (Mary Immaculate College), Dr Caroline Crowley (Crowley Research) and Dr Shane O’Sullivan (Limerick Institute of Technology), was commissioned by the Kerry Social Farming (KSF) Working Group in 2016, under the umbrella of lead partner South Kerry Development Partnership CLG (SKDP). The commissioning of this Project Review formed part of a Social Farming Model Project developed by KSF/ SKDP and is being funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), via the Commission for Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA). The authors undertook a detailed independent review of the Social Farming initiative in Kerry to access its impact as well as to examine ways in which the project can be developed and enhanced. There are currently over 20 participants and twelve host farms engaged with the KSF Project, which is administered by SKDP. The current project has also seen the appointment of a full time co-ordinator, Irene Kavanagh, to oversee the project, and the numbers of farmers and participants are expected to increase in the coming months. Each of the participants visit their host farm at least once a week, where they undertake a variety of tasks with the host farmer around the farm, from feeding the animals to minor repairs to undertaking a variety of engaging farm activities and projects. Outlining the findings of the report, Dr Brendan O’Keeff e stated that the Social Farming initiative, which firrst began in South Kerry in 2013, has yielded multiple dividends for all involved. “The model adopted in Kerry works particularly well because it has been tailored and adapted for local conditions” Dr O’Keefe noted, adding that the openness of host families, the bottom up approach adopted by SKDP, the funding now being provided by the DAFM and the person centred approach are among the key factors leading to its success. In welcoming the report, SKDP Chairperson Gloria O’Driscoll also highlighted the input of the other agencies involved in KSF such as St. John of God Kerry Services, Kerry Parents and Friends Association, North East West Kerry Development, Enable Ireland, Down Syndrome Kerry, Cunamh Iveragh, Local Link Kerry, the HSE and Kerry County Council. MEP Seán Kelly praised the host farmers involved in the project and pointed to the element of volunteerism as being vital to the project. In his address, Minister Creed said it was a humbling experience to meet with the participants in the KSF initiative, and he was very pleased to see that it works. “Inclusion isn’t just a word, its actions” Minister Creed said and he praised the fantastic collaboration that existed between all the groups involved in social farming in Kerry. He said the report findings and recommendations will be of benefi t to all, highlighting how the initiative can be improved and developed, and to inform what broad lessons can be transferred to other areas of the country. Minister Creed said he was delighted to be in South Kerry to launch the report and the words he heard from all the participants, and those involved with the social farming initiative in the county, will echo with him. Social farming is where family farms ofer social, health or training supports to a small number of people with particular needs in a supervised programme of farming-related activities. In Kerry Social Farming, people with intellectual disabilities or acquired brain injuries attend farms of all sizes involved in market gardening, dairying, sheep and beef production.

Minister Michael Creed with Claire O' Dwyer General Manager Saint John of God Kerry Services       
A section of the huge crowd that turned out for the launch of the
Anthony O Connor & Shane Savage enjoying the day

The launch took place of a joint short documentary called “Hear Us Now” developed by Saint John of God Killarney Community Programme , Kerry Parents and Friends Association along with the service managers Claire O' Dwyer and Maura Crowley and service users parents with the support of some employers of those attending both services . This launch took place on Thursday 11th May in the Malton Hotel Killarney. The documentary was based on what real inclusion means to these  individuals &  their families along with the importance of having meaningful work with pay and being afforded the same opportunities with freedom, choice and respect to live independent lives in their communities. This project was funded by South Kerry Development Partnership and Kerry Education Training Board in association with the two service providers. Special thanks to Tadhg Hayes who filmed the documentary and Ruti Lachs who supported the music tuition

                          Dominic Kiely, Mike O Riordan (volunteer) and Helen O Leary
                Claire O'Dwyer General Manager Saint John of God Kerry Services
Some of Saint John of God Kerry Services staff and services users who attended the launch
Clare Rohan enjoying the launch of Hear Us Now documentary

St Mary of the Angels gym staff hosted a Boccia League in April 2017. A total of twelve teams entered the league including St. Austin’s, St. Brendan’s, St. Fidelis, the Chalets, St. Marie Gorettis and four teams from Oaktree.

Student placements from the Institute of Technology Tralee Owen Roche and Adrian Scanlon coordinated the league.

The semi-finals were an epic encounter with Marie Gorettis narrowly beating Chalet 2 by 3 games to 2; meanwhile St. Austin’s had a comprehensive win over Chalet 1, 7 games to 2. The staff was in flying form with all sides showing fierce competitive spirit!

The league final took place on Thursday the 18th of May at 11am in the gym. This was a classic battle between the old neighbours with St. Austin’s narrowly beating St Marie Gorettis by one point. The winning team received trophies and included John Fitzgearld, Michael Battles, Lisa Looney and Kevin Kennelly. The runners up received medals and included Hazel O Connor, Daniel Lawlor, Susan O Brien and Kate Ennis. Certificates were given out to all who participated in the boccia league. The most valuable staff player was awarded to Margaret Kerrisk from St. Austins while Catherine Reilly from St. Marie Gorettis received the most competitive player award! Many thanks to the staff who made the league such a fun event.

St Austin’s winning team: Lisa Looney, John Fitzgearld, Kevin Kennelly & Michael Battles

St Marie Gorrettis runners up: Daniel Lawlor, Hazel O Connor, Kate Ennis & Susan O Brien

Most valuable staff player: Margaret Kerrisk
Most competitive staff player: Catherine Reilly



On Thursday 27th April  Killarney community programmes of both Kerry Parents and Friends Association and Saint John of God Kerry Services will jointly host a pre-launch of a short documentary titled “Hear Us Now”.  
The documentary is about young adults with intellectual disabilities leading normal lives. It is also highlighting the challenges that they and their families face. The adults in question come from Killarney and its surrounding villages and towns. They attend the day service programmes in Killarney of either one of the organisations where they receive training and support.
The message we want to communicate is 'People with intellectual disabilities are important and should be listened to". We are trying to raise awareness and generate support from the wider community on real social inclusion.
Real social inclusion means interacting with others who are not paid staff, a family member or other people with an intellectual disability. Real social inclusion means access to a paid job, social roles and relationships with non-disabled citizens. Real social inclusion means providing opportunities and the right amount of support to those who need it most to live as an independent life as possible. It is coming up with real solutions to a real problem.
We want businesses to think about including a person with an intellectual disability in their work force? The community; to think about how to involve them in mainstream clubs/organisations/schools/colleges and being part of community life ?
It is having the same freedom, choice & respect in making decisions so to lead as an independent life as possible with opportunities and supports been afforded to them. It is what we can take for granted.

Podcast http://media.radiokerry.ie/mediamanager/embed/player/#podcasts/55/item/67104

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