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:
- Set up Facebook page with 7000 followers as of March 2019.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Main spending items from fund-raising money and donations were: Gardening/landscaping and purchase of two alpacas. Funds from Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle are earmarked for extensions in two chalets to provide additional living spaces.