New social housing regeneration project in Cork city

Today in the Blackpool area of Cork city, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney TD turned the sod on a reconstruction project which will see 10 new homes for older people provided in Dublin Street.

This marks the next phase of Respond’s regeneration work in this area of Cork which over the next 3 years will see 240 social housing units added to the complement in Cork.

Minister Coveney said:

“I’m delighted to be here today to turn the sod on this project to provide homes for the elderly being delivered by Respond. I’d like to acknowledge their great work to deliver homes with appropriate community-based supports for older people and I’m pleased that over €2m is being made available by my Department to fund this project. Approved Housing Bodies such as Respond are critical in meeting the ambitious social housing targets in Rebuilding Ireland – the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.”

Respond CEO Declan Dunne said:

“Respond has a long and proud history in this area of Cork city. Dublin Street is only the beginning of our next phase of regeneration in the area. Our highly-regarded 51 unit St Francis Gardens development in Blackpool already has a range of wrap-around supports for our older tenants including a Day Centre. Dublin Street residents when they move in will have access to these services so they will know they are never alone and there is always a helping hand.

We are delighted today to commence work on Dublin Street as the first of many projects we aim to develop in Cork City, at a total of 240 new social homes over the next 3 years. We look forward to working with Cork City Council to provide housing and other support services to people in most need. All of us in the housing sector have a duty to do the most we can to help provide the 47,000 new social houses Ireland needs as planned for in Rebuilding Ireland. Respond is willing and ready to play our part to tackle our homelessness crisis with housing solutions on the ground”

The Dublin Street project consists of 10 units (5 x 1 bed and 5 x 2 bed) at a project value of €2.15 million which will be funded through the Department of Housing’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS). The contractor is HG Construction and the estimated completion date is January 2018.

 Posted: 20th February 2017


Loneliness is a killer: Responding to social isolation through technology

On Friday 10th February at John’s College in Waterford City, UCC School of Applied Social Studies and Respond Housing examined innovative responses to one of the major social issues of the digital age.

Responding to Social Isolation through Technology” will hear from a range of experts and practitioners on methods to deal with loneliness.

Opening the conference Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation Mr. John Halligan T.D., highlighted that responding effectively to social isolation and loneliness poses challenges for governments, policy makers, service providers, our communities, and families.   We need effective responses across a broad range of areas, which will address not alone the quality of life issues, but also financial issues whereby people can be supported in their own homes and in their own communities.

Respond Chief Executive Officer Declan Dunne said:

Loneliness is a killer. This is no exaggeration. A 2010 review of over 140 studies found that the influence of social isolation on early mortality is comparable to well-established risk factors such as smoking and has a greater impact than factors such as obesity and physical obesity.

“We have to ensure our older relatives and friends do not become even more isolated in this new information age and in fact, learn to use and be comfortable with new technology which will enable them to stay in touch with their families and be involved in the national conversation. We in Respond commit use the learnings from today’s conference to start the journey to ensure our cohort of older residents have the skills and technology available to them to stay connected to the wider world.”

According to Professor Cathal O’Connell of the School of Applied Social Studies of University College Cork “this is an issue faced by many societies and its effects have been captured in a range of quality of life indicators across age, gender, income and ethnicity. While communications technology brings undoubted challenges and barriers, it can also be harnessed to innovate for new modes of interaction and social engagement between people and communities”, he said.


The conference event is supported by funding from the New Foundations Scheme of the Irish Research Council. New Foundations promotes co-operation between Irish third level institutions and community and voluntary organisations with the intention of disseminating academic research and ensuring its impacts are of benefit to the wider community and society at large

*2010 review of 140 studies on social isolation and loneliness: Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. and Layton, J. (2010) ‘Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review’, PLoS Med, 7(7).