History of Leeds Irish Health and Homes
In 1992 a steering committee of concerned Irish Community representatives was convened in response to empirical and anecdotal evidence highlighting several areas of concern to health and social care professionals inLeeds. These were many and varied, but included the over-representation of Irish people in the mental health system, the high number of homeless older Irish men in the city and a relatively large proportion of the community living in single rooms and boarding houses. In addition to this, there was a high incidence of alcohol problems and a poor overarching profile of general health across many life limiting diagnostic categories.
A decision was made in 1996 to use the information gathered and contacts established to move to a more proactive stance and to convene Leeds Irish Health and Homes as an organisation actively working to confront these inequalities. This was to take the form of service provision based on accurate knowledge of the community’s profiles and needs, and would involve the establishment of a base through which Irish people could engage with culturally distinct support services, and as a conduit through which wider service provision could be accessed.
In the climate in which we operate remaining static is rarely an option and we feel that our creativity and unswerving commitment to the Irish Community in Leeds has given us an ability to respond effectively to the demands of our clients and funders. This provision has of course changed over the years, sometimes as a reaction to changing circumstances, sometimes in response to careful planning or our constant re evaluation of our services. These have included, in addition to the direct client support provided by the Housing Support and Outreach Teams, a network of luncheon Clubs and meeting places across the city, several publications setting out our responses to contemporary health and social care issues and Roisin Ban, a photographic exhibition.
Leeds Irish Health and Homes still adheres to its original ethos of Care, Culture and Community and these pioneering values still underpin our service provision today and will be our source of inspiration as we face the future.