In 1986 Polio Fellowship of Ireland amalgamated with the Rehab Group. At that time PFI was in debt and had an uncertain future. The Fellowship was responding to dwindling need as vaccines had largely eradicated this terrible disease in Ireland by the 1960s.
In the amalgamation Rehab Group assumed provision of PFI’s polio rehabilitation services – which were based at its Park House property in Stillorgan – and its debts which outweighed PFI’s assets.
PFI continued to exist in name only and ceased all fundraising and service provision.
As polio declined, the services provided at Park House changed to meet the changing needs of the population, as was anticipated in the terms of the amalgamation. At that time post-polio syndrome, which emerges decades after initial infection, was unheard of.
Rehab Group now provides HSE-funded day services to approximately 150 people who live with disability and disadvantage at Park House. They are young and older people with acquired physical and sensory disabilities, many of whom have high-support needs and have been in the service for many years. Since 1986 Rehab Group’s services at Park House have helped thousands of people.
To provide this service at Park House we have invested our funds year-on-year since 1986 to develop and maintain the property.
We are proud of our services in Park House and of our unbroken record of providing these based on need. For example, the horticultural garden, which was there when PFI was running its services, is still in use today. It is our hope that we will continue to provide these vital services on this site for years to come.
As all our services are funded by the HSE, we cannot simply supply a service to an individual without that person first having an assessed need and being referred to one of our services. Any new service to people with disabilities, including post-polio syndrome, is only delivered in conjunction with the HSE and accessed through local HSE structures. An application to the HSE to access funding to provide support services for people with post-polio syndrome is currently under consideration within Rehab Group.
Between 2000 to 2015 we donated €583,000 to the Post-Polio Support Group (PPSG), now known as Polio Survivors Ireland. This money was raised through the Charitable Lottery Fund. However, in 2015, on foot of the Charitable Lottery being wound down, Rehab Group informed PPSG that it was no longer in a position to continue to do so.
The cessation of the Charitable Lottery Fund had a significant impact on Rehab’s funding stream. As financial sustainability is a key pillar of our long-term strategic plan, we could no longer continue to make these donations. We have no legal obligation to provide funding to Polio Survivors Ireland.
We did provide €35,000 towards the cost of a Development Officer for the charity and offered our assistance, expertise and guidance on a number of specific projects.
Our CEO has met with the Justice for Polio Survivors many times and we are yet to be given a clear, consistent, set of demands.
We are a charity not a grant-giving organisation and we do not directly supply items such as mobility aids. In fact, we have been very clear about our own financial challenges in meeting the cost of providing services in our report Who Cares? published last year. The €1.2m and €8m in assets and property repeatedly referred to by Justice for Polio Survivors are in fact Rehab’s Park House operating capital (HSE funds) and an assumed recent value of the Park House property respectively.
For further information contact Lynne Caffrey: firstname.lastname@example.org, 087 711 8225 or Edel O’Connell: edel.o’email@example.com