In 2016 we first realised that St Mary of the Angels was under threat of closure due to the national "Decongregation" policy. The Saint Mary of the Angels (SMOA) Parents and Relatives Association was formed in the autumn of 2016 and these are our main achievements since then:
We fundraised and financed the construction of two new single bedrooms and two new sunrooms.
Conversion of an underused space into two single en-suite bedrooms, September 2019 - March 2020
Two new sunroom extensions, March - December 2020
New flooring, new indoor and outdoor furniture 2022
Restoration of the Sensory Garden 2022 (project is currently ongoing)
- Set up Facebook page with 7400 followers as of March 2020.
- Set up this website with continuing development and updates.
- Local and national media coverage in print, radio and TV.
- Set up YouTube channel.
- Held a public meeting in Killorglin which was attended by about 400 people, many Kerry County Councillors and which was covered by Paschal Sheehy, RTE. Coverage on Six One news here.
- Addressed sitting of Kerry County Council and received unanimous support: "Members of Kerry County Council have pledged to do everything in their power to help families of the St Mary of the Angels (SMOA) residents in their fight to stop their loved ones being moved out of the care centre in Beaufort under the HSE's national 'decongregation' policy." - The Kerryman article here.
- Received written undertaking from the HSE that "No resident will move out of St Mary of the Angels against their will." and "Residents will only move if they and their family members agree that it’s in their best interests." (Press coverage here.)
- Started an ongoing campaign to raise funds to be used for improving the lives of St Mary of the Angels' residents. Details on the 'Get Involved' page.
- Established a forum of the key stakeholders in St Mary of the Angels, comprising HSE, St Joh of God management, families and North and South Kerry Development partnerships.
- Organised social employment painters who painted the main building, the chapel and a number of other buildings.
- Organised volunteer days, the biggest being 40 voluntary workers from Dell Computers in Cork who carried out work on the grounds and painted the inside of a number of buildings.
- Landscaping on the grounds. Repaired old lawn mower, repaired the tractor and purchased a new lawn mower.
- Engaged energy efficiency consultant (Energywise Ireland) to visit SMOA, meet with management and survey existing heating system. The aim is to retrofit the entire campus.
- Worked with HIQA as part of their most recent inspections at the end of 2017. HIQA acknowledge the positive contribution that the Parents and Relatives Association is making in the quality of the lives of the residents. (Official inspection reports are available here.)
- Main spending items from fund-raising money and donations were: New lawn mower, painting, fencing, tractor repair and various maintenance.
- Plans are advanced to introduce Social Farming to St Mary of the Angels later this year.
- The main driveway which was badly pot-holed has been newly tarmacked, using money from the fundraising efforts.
- St Mary of the Angels has been selected as one of the main beneficiaries of the 2018 Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle. Any funds raised will be spent towards improving the lives of the residents. Plans are advanced to eliminate shared bedrooms in some of the houses.
- March 2018: Another successful meeting with Kerry County Council who are very supportive: "Ministers come and go, policies change, but St Mary of the Angels will be staying."
- May 2018: HIQA have proposed both campus areas for registration. This is in no small part due to the positive influence of the Parents and Relatives Association and a huge achievement!
- July 2018: The participation in the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle is a huge success with Hundreds of people cycling and fund-raising for St Mary of the Angels Parents and Relatives Association.
- July 2018: The positive influence and hard work of the association is highlighted in newspaper specials covering St Mary of the Angels 50th Anniversary 2018.
- July 2018: HIQA have officially registered both campus areas (DC1 and DC2). The Certificates of Registration are on display in the centres. This achievement is in no small part due to the positive influence of the Parents and Relatives Association.
- September 2018: Representatives of the Parents and Relatives Association participated in the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle gala presentation night and accepted a cheque for nearly 80,000 Euro for our ongoing work to improve the lives of the residents. UPDATE September 2019: Construction to provide extra bedrooms has started. Coverage in The Kerryman 25th September 2019 here.
- November 2018: SMOA staff member Críostóir Grayson produced this wonderful 2019 calendar for us with all images taken on the grounds of St Mary of the Angels throughout 2018.
- Main spending item from fund-raising money was to re-tarmac the main driveway. Funds from Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle have been added to previously fundraised money and carried over into 2019 to pay for construction of single bedrooms.
- February 2019: St Mary of the Angels Parents and Relatives Association has been selected again as one of only six main beneficiaries of the 2019 Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle. We will use the funds to provide extra living space in two chalets and to make each day meaningful and happy for all those living in St. Mary of the Angels.
- March 2019: St Mary of the Angels Parents and Relatives Association has been announced as the winner of the 2019 Aviva Broker Community Fund at a gala event in Dublin. The top prize of €10,000 was presented to our chairman, Jack Fitzpatrick. Coverage in The Kerryman here.
- May 2019: St Mary of the Angels Parents and Relatives Association is a GOLD Winner 2019 in the Kerry Community Awards. Coverage in The Kerryman here.
- June 2019: Purchased and introduced two alpacas for the residents and staff to enjoy. Wide-ranging benefits of Alpacas are detailed here.
- July 2019: The participation in the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle is another huge success with nearly twice as many people cycling and fund-raising for St Mary of the Angels Parents and Relatives Association as compared to last year.
- July 2019: A first round of gardening and landscaping work was funded by Parents and Relatives Association with more works planned for the autumn.
- September 2019: Construction has started to provide single bedrooms for residents in St Fidelis unit. This was made possible with funds from the 2018 Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle together with previously fundraised monies and grants. Coverage in The Kerryman here.
- October 2019: Representatives of the Parents and Relatives Association participated in the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle gala presentation night and accepted a cheque for over 146,000 Euro for our ongoing work to improve the lives of the residents. These funds will allow us to start construction of 2 sunrooms and provide extra living spaces in two chalets immediately.
- Main spending items from fund-raising money and donations were: Gardening/landscaping and purchase of two alpacas. Funds from Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle 2018 and 2019 are used for single bedrooms and extensions in two chalets to provide additional living spaces.
- January 2020: Construction has started for two sunroom extensions on two chalets, funded by the Parents and Relatives Association.
- March 2020: Two residents moved into their new single bedrooms just before Covid-19 restrictions were put into place on campus. The construction and fit-out of the new bedrooms was funded by the Parents and Relatives association. This was one major item to achieve overall HIQA compliance.
- April 2020: The Association donated hand moisturisers for each one of the fantastic staff who are caring for our loved ones during these difficult times.
- September 2020: We are happy to gift 1,000 Euro for each unit on campus. This will be spent on various items in each unit that will most benefit our loved-ones. Examples are: Blinds in sitting rooms, Smart TV's (to watch the online masses from the chapel) and sensory items.
- November 2020: For the 3rd year running, we have produced our calendar in co-operation with staff member Chris Grayson. Available for purchase here.
- November 2020: The two sunroom extensions which were funded by the Parents and Relatives Association are finished and in use. Some pictures here on our Facebook page.
- November 2020: HIQA inspections noted the improvements and additions which were funded by the Parents and Relatives Association, i.e. single bedrooms and sunroom extensions.
- April 2021: Very positive meeting with Minister of State with responsibility for disabilities Anne Rabbitte, Minister for Education Norma Foley, TD Brendan Griffin and officials from HSE and Department of Health. Everyone present is supportive of our requests:
- To have a seat at the decision making table.
- That there be a written undertaking that SMOA will never be a sellable commodity. A provider, upon ceasing running the facility, would have to sign over the deeds to the new care provider. This should be an agreement in perpetuity.
- The onsite services and facilities should be accessible to people with disabilities throughout Kerry, as they cannot be accessed elsewhere.
- Joined other parent groups to form the National Parent and Family Association SJOG in order to represent parents and families in the negotiations between and St John of God Community Services and the HSE about the future of St John of God services.
- July 2021: Our member Lynn Fitzpatrick appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters to argue the St Mary of the Angels should be exempted from the 'Time to Move on from Congregated Settings' policy. Opening statement here and text version here. Video with all of Lynn's contributions to the debate here.
- July 2021: Kerry County Councillors support our call for St Mary of the Angels to be exempted from the "Time to move on from Congregated Settings" policy. News coverage here and here. Meeting minutes here (see 19.7.2021.13 Any Other Business: St. Mary of the Angels, pages 6 and 7) .
- November 2021: For the 4th year running, we have produced our calendar in co-operation with staff member Chris Grayson. Available for purchase here.
- November 2021: Very positive HIQA inspection, with contributions from Parents and Relatives Association noted. Details on the HIQA reports page.
- We have financed a large furniture order for all houses in St Mary of the Angels in response to the November 2021 HIQA report. Pictures at top of this page.
- We have purchased a substantial amount of colourful outdoor furniture, i.e. benches, picnic tables and a swing. Pictures at top of this page.
- We are planning to spend furtherfunds on the restoration of the sensory garden.