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Launch of Good Practice Guidelines for Peer Led Family Support Groups
Audio Recording of Launch
"With the support of the Network and so many true friends we have made, life is good for us today. Our children are still in addiction but we have the support to take care of ourselves. Family Support has been a lifeline for us". Brendan Doyle, Wexford Family Support Group.
The Family Support Network launched Good Practice Guidelines for Peer Led Family Support Groups on 8th of April in Dublin Castle at 10:00am. The guidelines are designed to support families living with drug use. The guidelines provide family support groups with a framework to manage their group in a way that is deemed the best way possible in terms of meeting the needs and easing the distress of family members. While the emphasis is on the peer led model, the importance and value of other forms of support is acknowledged.
The launch was attended by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, Pat Bennett of the Family Support Agency and members of family support groups. Newly appointed Minister Pat Carey of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs addressed and responded to questions from attendees. Eamonn Quinn, philanthropist, Tony Hickey, Former Assistant Gárda Commissioner and Sadie Grace, Coordinator of the Family Support Network and family members also addressed attendees.
Gwen McKenna of the North East Reigon Family Support Network "offered her congratulations to the Network on a job very well done. I look forward with great anticipation to the future of our national Family Support Network".
Service of Commemoration and Hope 2010 (Poster for Service)
The 11th Annual Service of Commemoration and Hope took place in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Seán McDermott Street on the 1st of February. The Service is held to remember those who have died from drug use and related causes and also to offer hope to the families of those still involved in drug use or in recovery.
Hundreds of family members and representatives from support organisations from all over Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland attended the service which has been organised by volunteers from the Family Support Network since 2000. Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello, Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, An Taoiseach’s aide-de-camp Commandant Michael Treacy, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and the Minister with special responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, John Curran TD attended.
Often the Service is the first time families can openly grieve for their loved ones who they have lost to drug use and related causes. Creative pieces specifically written for the Service reflected the experiences of families and provided great meaning to the night. Thank you to all those who contributed in such a way.
Daithi Doolan of CityWide said of the Service: "Let me say how privileged I was to attend the Service of Commemoration and Hope... I found the ceremony to be uplifting. Well done to all those involved who made it such a success".
The Fathers House
Members of the Fathers of Addicts Family Support Group took part in a documentary for radio entitled The Fathers House. Fathers House was aired on RTE Radio 1 on Saturday, the 14th of November. The documentary is available to listen to by clicking on: Fathers House
Family Support Network Annual Work Conference - Conference Itinerary
The Annual Work Conference took place in the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk on the 23rd - 25th of October. Over 350 family members attended the weekend. Minister John Curran opened the Conference and Michael Conroy Head of Policy with the Office of the Minister for Drugs made a presentation on the new National Drugs Strategy.
Discussion groups took place over the course of the weekend covering the topics of good practice in family support groups and local issues affecting families living with drug use. Family members had the opportunity to participate in a variety of training workshops covering a variety of themes including Health, Communication and Creative Techniques for Family Support Groups. Family members also had the opportunity to receive holistic therapies and learn different coping techniques.
The benefits for family members of attending the Conference can be clearly seen from the e-mail that the Family Support Network received after the weekend:
"As someone who is relatively new to Family Support I would like on behalf of my wife and I to thank each and every one of you for a weekend that will stay in our memories for a very long time to come. We met people that made us laugh, and we met people that made us cry, but we all felt that we weren't alone and that feeling that we are all in this nightmare together makes it that little bit easier to deal with. Thank you all so much".