Vital Community Service Closed on 31st Dec. 2020
The BOM and management and staff of RASP issued the following statement. It is with great sadness RASP will no longer be able to provide our services, due to closure. It has been a tremendous honour to have served the local community of the Darndale /Coolock area for twenty-five years. Below: please find an explanation as to the circumstance that brought about the closure.
After eighteen months of a crippling financial review, conducted by our primary funder, the Department of Education, and skills (DES). RASP (Laneview Learning Centre) CLG, a community addiction rehabilitation centre, serving the community of Dublin North East, primarily Darndale, for over twenty-five years has closed. The company was left with no choice, but to close, as they could no longer function responsibly with the financial uncertainty the DES review had caused the service.
RASP was a popular centre; its loss will have a huge impact on the community. It will be missed badly by the clients and participants of the service. Its closure will have a longer-lasting impact on their families and children. Incredulously the closure will enable the DES to save the paltry sum of ‘€177.000’ a year.
The centre successfully operated out of its spacious well-equipped premises in the Malahide road industrial park, the programmes that were run in the centre were always innovative, providing addictions services to the community, offering a wide variety of courses. such as smart fit courses, addiction rehabilitation, counselling, horticulture, group therapy, music therapy, literacy support, vocational classes, QQI community addiction studies etc. As well as offering full meals, assess to showers and laundry facilities. The average age of those who attended the service ranged from twenty to sixty years old.
Over the years, RASP was responsible for contributing an unquantifiable amount of social capital, to the local community, and was instrumental in helping its participants/service users to start new lives and become drugs free.
The centre was largely funded by the DES supplemented by a Department of Social Protection (DSP) CE scheme, and the HSE. The centre was managed by a local community voluntary board of management, some of whom had served RASP for over twenty-five years.
Why has RASP closed, when in a recent Dublin North East Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce 2020 Strategic Action Plan commissioned study, Darndale was identified with having the largest drug problem in the Dublin North East Area. Why was this valuable service lost to such a disadvantaged area?
Basically, its loss is down to the indifference of two service funders, the DES and the HSE. Unfortunately, RASP found its self-caught between these services. Although the DES funded RASP, the relationship was never the right fit, as the DES believed that funding a community addiction service was outside its remit and viewed RASP as a health care programme. The HSE did not believe they should fund RASP, categorising RASP as an educational service. Leaving RASP in a precarious position. The truth is RASP was both an educational and therapeutic addiction service, with high professional standards. In the same resent DNELDTF 2020 Strategic Plan, RASP was commended for the high quality of its service.
To understand why the programme was ignored by the HSE. One must look at the historical context. RASP is one of last community addiction services of its kind that is run by the local community. Originally drug rehabilitation services were all community initiatives. they were formed in the absence of available HSE addiction services, in response to the heroin epidemic that plagued the city in the eighties and nineties. Over the years the HSE began to professionalise these services. Their involvement was welcomed at the time. Eventually this led to a HSE takeover of many of these services, resulting in the situation that is evident today. Whereby addiction services that are not HSE statutory funded, struggle to find funding to run their services. The consequences are such is that the community are being driven out of involvement in providing services in their own areas. This discriminatory practice is clearly visible in the afore mentioned ‘DNELDTF 2020 Strategic Action Plan’. The document contains a list of HSE funded addiction services in the Dublin North East Area and includes their yearly funding allocation. The document shows that HSE funded services received annually more than ten times the amount of HSE funding, than what RASP had been receiving.
The practice of excluding community run services from access to HSE funding sources is a discriminatory practice and leaves effective services like RASP to fend for themselves or to rely, as in RASP’s case, on an unsympathetic and unsuitable source of funding.
This exclusion of the community also impacts the national and local drugs task force who seem to be entirely HSE lead. As a result, the community have become merely window dressing with no meaningful role and their voice is not being heard. To the point that HSE seems to operate as a funding bagman, with little or no consultation with the community it serves. Hence a vital community addiction centre in Darndale Dublin North East, one of the city’s most needy areas is left without a service.
Eighteen months ago, RASP’S main funder for twenty years the Department of Education and Skills (DES) began a financial review of the company. At the time RASP was informed that their future funding would depend on the outcome of the review. The service was happy to comply with the review and were assured the review would be completed within a few weeks. They never received the outcome of the review and to this day the review is still ‘on going’.
RASP communicated with the DES on numerous occasions informing them of the serious impact funding uncertainty was having on the centre. To the point when it was clear to the company, it could no longer function as they were losing staff and their services were at risk or had to be postponed. They reached crisis point when their accountant advised them that unless the issue was cleared up, the company were essentially ‘trading recklessly’.
The company reached out to the previous Minister for Education & Skills Joe Mc Hugh TD and the current Minister Norma Foley TD explaining the seriousness of their situation without satisfaction. In the end they were left with no choice but to close. Undoubtably the DES will say RASP was never refused funding and that is true. But by not assuring the company of funding, the Department of Education & Skills as good as forced the closure. The problem of RASP’s funding crisis did not suddenly evolve. The problem was consistently highlighted to those who would listen.
RASP also sought support from HSE Inclusion Addiction Services early in the crisis, and their communications went unanswered. The Dublin North East Local Task Force were informed, and their response although was empathic lacked urgency and action. RASP predicament bears out what was said earlier ‘without HSE endorsement the community has no voice in addiction service provision’. It seems that RASP was always viewed as someone else’s problem. Although it may not have been the intention of these services to ignore our situation,
The irony is that RASP was not a failing organisation. It was in many ways unique in the breath of its service provision. It had a unique philosophy that created a family atmosphere and sense of safety. It was known for its willingness to explore alternative therapies and alternative approaches. The wonder is that RASP accomplished so much in the services they offered to the addiction community with such meagre funding and minimum support. All this was lost because of the inherent bias in the system against non HSE funded community services.
We have received so much support over the years from so many people. It would be impossible to name them all, we would like to thank sincerely. Ann Marie Talbot of the HSE RIS Team, Fionnuala Carter of Coliaste Dhulaigh CDCFE, Eddie Darcy of SOLAS Project, the staff of DES, Pat Carey, Shane Brennan, and the staff of DNETDATF, Paul Quigley, and the staff of Beldale View HSE Clinic, The Cork Street Fund, The Stephens Green Fund, Madeline Ebbs Dublin City Counsel. Sean Haughy TD. and all our other friends and organisations, too numerous to mention that helped to make RASP such a success over our twenty-five years operating.
RASP Board of Management
A UNIQUE APPROACH TO ADDICTION IN THE COMMUNITY
Creating a safe and therapeutic learning environment that is supportive of personal transformation
Our Key Services
RASP (Laneview Learning Centre) CGL provides a Pre-entry Stabilisation Group for individuals, whose aim is to join the rehabilitation programme and willing to address their addiction
Special Category Community Employment Scheme
RASP (Laneview Learning Centre) CGL provides a Special Community Employment Drugs Rehabilitation Project. This project offers places for individuals who are looking for support in addiction recovery and meet the criteria of the Department of Social Protection
Rehabilitation & Treatment
Rehabiliation Programme Rasp (Laneview Learning Centre) CGL provides a rehabilitation and support programme for service users who are stable on methadone and wish to engage in this programme. Weekly
cannabis addiction support for young people
This is a Poly-Drug (cocaine, tablets) use and Cannabis Addiction Special CE Programme for 18 to 24 year olds. This course runs over 5 Afternoons or 5 Evenings Weekly
After Care Programme
For individuals who have completed a Drug/Alcohol/Rehabilitation/Treatment Programme or Similar. Are drug free or are on a minimum dose of Methadone
Smart Fit is a 20 week education, substance and alcohol recovery and fitness programme. This course offers Two QQI Minor Awards in Health Related Fitness (Level 4) and Community Addiction Studies (Level 5).
post prison support
RASP (Laneview Learning Centre) CGL provides a Post-Prison Support Programme for Individuals who have recently been in prison and have a history of drug misuse.
MISSION STATEMENT “To create a safe and therapeutic learning environment that is supportive of personal transformation Laneview Learning Centre R.A.S.P CGL. will implement programmes that will endeavour to empower problematic drug miss-users to engage fully in rehabilitation and social reintegration Our focus is to concentrate on activities that build self- efficacy and self- worth to enable individuals to engage positively in their own lives, in their families and in their communities” .
We are currently recruiting for our special drug’s rehabilitation community employment scheme
Cannabis & Poly-drug Addiction Recovery Programme