Forced to beg for new windows

Staff at the Day Care Centre in Portlaoise are anxiously trying to raise €5,000 to have the old windows replaced in the building, so the elderly clients won’t have to spend another winter in the cold.

Staff at the Day Care Centre in Portlaoise are anxiously trying to raise €5,000 to have the old windows replaced in the building, so the elderly clients won’t have to spend another winter in the cold.

For the last 25 years, the building on the New Road, Portlaoise has been used as a Day Care Centre for the elderly people of Portlaoise and surrounding areas, including Stradbally, Vicarstown, and Timahoe. Mountrath, Camross and Ballyfin.

The building, which is owned by the Portlaoise Area Social Services is more than 40 years old and is in urgent need of repair and upgrade.

After the recent cold snap, Centre Manager Christine D’Alton fears for her elderly clients.

“Obviously with older people, they have an even greater need to keep warm, but it is really hard to heat the building and the windows and doors are draughty.

“As you can imagine, after 40 years, the building is in need of substantial repair and upgrading. The windows are badly fitting, timber-framed and single glazed making it difficult to heat the centre due to the constant drafts.”

The Clinical Nurse Manager continued: “This is a major concern as we are unable to maintain a suitable temperature for our elderly clients, some of whom are immobile. The cold and drafts are not merely a source of discomfort to the clients, but can have a serious negative impact on their health.”

On average the centre caters for between 26 and 28 people each day.

Clients from outside the town are picked up at their houses and brought into the centre.

“We have people from different areas in each day, and some people who live locally would come more often. We try to do different activities with them such as bingo, most of the clients love bingo.”

But Christine is anxious that the senior citizens don’t have to face another winter in the cold building and hopes to raise enough money to replace the windows in August.

A recent anonymous donation of €400 has brought her closer to her goal , combined with proceeds from a cake and bric-a-brac sale in November ,and also the raffle in aid of the Christmas Party on December 20, last year.

“We are so grateful for anything we receive,” Christine said.

Some of the Staff at the Centre plan to do the Women’s mini marathon in June to raise funds for the refurbishment and they are looking for volunteers to join them. Sponsorship cards can be got by contacting the centre.

The staff and food are financed by the HSE but fund raising is needed to provide extra services for the clients.

A spokesperson for the HSE said they were aware that Portlaoise Social Services intend replacing the existing windows.

“The HSE has included this on the list of minor capital for 2013. In 2012 HSE lottery funding in the amount of €2,800 was approved to Portlaoise Social Services for window replacement.

“The HSE understands that staff at the day care together with the Social Services have taken on this project as a fundraiser and also as an activity for the people attending.”

One client, said the senior citizens of Portlaoise and the surrounding areas, were lucky to have such a service.

“The Senior Citizens of Portlaoise and surrounding areas are so lucky to have such a wonderful facility as the Day Care Centre where the Staff are so courteous and kind looking after our every need and treating everyone equally. They provide us with a beautiful three course meal each day and tea with various types of home baking before we go home.

“Apart from the benefit of mixing with our peers and keeping up to date with the news and local affairs, we have a daily exercise routine, card playing, bingo, music, and sing-a-long sessions.

“For many of us it is a home away from home and may be the only contact with other people we have from one end of the week to the next.”