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.