PCI care team up for top award

5.9.2019 | Mission News, Social Witness, Mission

The team at Aaron House, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI) residential home for people with profound learning and physical disability in Dundonald, has been shortlisted in the final of this year’s IHCP Care Awards.

The awards are run by the Independent Health and Care Providers, the recognised member organisation for those providing services for older people and vulnerable adults in Northern Ireland. The Care Team Award, which Aaron House has been nominated for, recognises the ‘vital work that care staff working together make to individual lives and to the care environment.’ The winners will be unveiled at a special awards ceremony in Belfast next month.

Excited at the news, Aaron House manager, Isobel Harper, said, “For nearly 25 years now, Aaron House has provided lifelong accommodation for adults who have profound learning and physical disability and I know that the team provides a homely and loving environment to the highest professional standards of care.

“The team is exceptionally dedicated and over half of them have completed at least 10 years’ service, with some of my colleagues having been at Aaron House since it opened. I am very proud of them. We are actually looking for new members to join our team, and these opportunities are on the PCI website.”

The Dundonald home in the Ballybeen estate opened in 1995 and accommodates 14 residents on a permanent basis and two residents each week for respite care. It also includes a day care centre that supports the needs of up to 9 people. Originally managed by the Currie Community, PCI took over its management 10 years ago in partnership with Choice Housing Association, who are responsible for the maintenance of the building.

PCI’s Council for Social Witness is responsible for the overall management of the denomination’s nursing and residential care homes, along with supported housing schemes for people with a learning disability and those with addictions and former offenders across 16 locations in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Aaron House has been home to Elizabeth from Belfast for 12 years who said, “It’s good, I love the staff, they look after me, they wash me and get me my meals.  I love my key worker Maureen, she takes me shopping for my clothes.  I love Susan, Sarah and Sarah Jane.”

Congratulating the team on being shortlisted, PCI’s Head of Disability Services, Melanie Bowden, said, "This is great news for a team that really goes the extra mile. As Christians we are called to demonstrate Jesus’ love for people, which means putting our faith into practical action and simple Christian caring.

“It is a powerful social witness of the gospel and can be seen here in action at Aaron House and in all the places where we seek to make a difference in people’s lives. It is also a very special kind of witness, one that can be seen each and every day through the work of our congregations across Ireland. I wish the team at Aaron House, every success at the awards ceremony in October,” she said.

Photos: (1) Members of the Aaron House team with some of the residents they care for and support (2) Aaron House, which opened in 1995.

In June, as part of Learning Disability Week, the Moderator, Rt Rev Dr William Henry, took part in the celebrations to mark the opening of Aaron House's new sensory garden. You can read about it here.

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