Respond Aras Visit Celebrates Positive Change in Developing a Creative Society

Respond Housing Association ‘Jubilee30 Celebration’ as Ireland’s leading housing charity was honoured with an invitation to visit Áras an Uachtaráin. A delighted group of Respond families, volunteers and staff members travelled to meet with His Excellency, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins on 13th March 2013. This trip gave Respond, who has been to the forefront of social housing for over 30 years, the chance to celebrate their joint vision, with the President,  of creating positive change through inclusive, collaborative and united communities.

According to Pat Cogan ofm, CEO and cofounder of Respond Housing Association

‘We are grateful for the recognition this invitation to the Áras, affords our organisation, our staff and our residents across the country. We understand that President Higgins is complying with the agenda he set for himself in his Inaugural Address of November 11th, 2011, when he nominated a ‘Creative Society’ as one of his primary aims.  Respond, in seeking to provide inclusive and integrated accommodation for older persons, families, homeless persons, members of the travelling community, and persons with special needs, is one of those ‘creative communities who are bringing about positive change’, of which the President was speaking ’

Respond set itself an agenda to prevent and relieve hardship and distress and has constantly challenged and championed families’ and communities needs especially in the current adverse economic conditions. Last year Respond Housing Association celebrated 30 years of building communities which incorporate this vision of creativity and positive change through inclusive, collaborative and united communities. To mark this milestone Respond hosted a series of high profile national events alongside local and regional activities. These ranged from fun family orientated Jubilee30 events which took place on Respond estates, to conferences on mental health and housing issues in both Cork and Dublin. Pat Cogan stated that the visit to the President at Áras an Uachtaráin will be a splendid way to conclude this calendar of jubilee events.

‘We would like to thank President Higgins for extended this honour to us in recognition of our work over the past 30 years and are optimistic that, working together on a shared agenda, we will bring about social creativity and advancement of equal opportunity for all in our community’.

Respond Housing Association is Ireland’s leading housing association and has provided more than 5,200 units of accommodation nationwide. The housing charity seeks to create a future for people by alleviating poverty and creating vibrant, socially integrated communities. Respond does this by providing access to education, childcare, community development programmes, housing and other supports.