Touching Hearts was established to support the building of a new Sacred Heart Centre.
The Sacred Heart Centre was established in 1974. It was originally under the auspices of the Irish Sisters of Charity, but was taken over by the HSE in 2005. It supports families of children who have varying degrees of physical and learning disabilities and is assisted by the Friends & Family Association which was set up in 2006.
The main function of the Sacred Heart Centre is to empower children with a broad range of intellectual and/or physical challenges and their families to develop to their full potential in a safe and nurturing environment. This is achieved through the provision of an Individual Family Service Plan for children attending the Main Early Intervention Service.
Half the building is currently shared with the Department of Education. It was built in 1974 so is no longer fit for its purpose. The lack of space impacts on the provision of services and multidisciplinary team work. For example, one small therapy room which doubles up as a toddler and play group room means equipment has to be moved to other areas which is very time consuming. The building also lacks appropriate facilities for hosting parent and staff training.
Further limitations include the amount of staff that can be employed and the capacity to take in new referrals for children needing early intervention. Access to the centre is also difficult as there is only one small carpark for families, staff and buses. The centre also lacks quality equipment seen in other early intervention centres. The outside space where the children play is also insufficient for their needs.
Our current CSR engagement is with a volunteering organisation close to our heart the Blood Bikes East. Blood Bikes East collects and delivers a wide range of items including blood products, breast milk, medical products, medication, samples for testing, test results and transplant-related tissue. Since its establishment in 2013, the voluntary charity has provided an essential service to hospitals across Dublin and surrounding areas, and will make its 10,000th completed medical transport before the end of August 2017 and saving the region's health services approximately €300,000 per year.
Along with with the leading insurer Zurich we have donated two new new, fully modified motorbikes to assist development of the Blood Bikes East's road fleet. The first bike is a Kawasaki GTR 1,400cc, which is needed to support BBE's growing demands for long distance linkups with their Blood Bike partner groups across the country. The second motorbike is a Honda Deauville 700cc, which will be used for city-wide transports. Both motorbikes will officially hit the roads in August and will replace older motorbikes which have reached the end of their usable life-spans.
The official hand-over of the new motor bikes took place on the 27th of July 2017 outside the very hard working St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin. Representing Arachas Corporate Brokers was Billy Redmond, Director and Colm Blake, Marketing Manager at Zurich. Billy also works on a voluntary level as a member of the Blood Bikes East team of riders.