Take a look at the questions and answers below. If your question is not covered, please send an email with your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 087 6693118. If you would like copies of our promotional material, send us an email or write to StepIn, Cherry House, Comans Park, Roscommon.
StepIn is an Irish organisation that offers people with disabilities the chance to live more fulfilled, engaged and participative lives. Members of a StepIn network live independently in their own homes. They do this with the support of their fellow network members. There are many reasons why a StepIn network offers advantages over traditional residential care — both personal and economic. Primarily, members value the enhancement to their lives and the chance to contribute more to their community.
A network consists of up to ten regular homes within walking distance of members. People who need support live in as many as nine of them and these people are all members of the network. A community living volunteer lives in an additional house. Members of StepIn networks are people who have a disability who want to live in their own home and need some support to do this.
Members must be willing to support fellow network members and to take part in network meetings. Beyond this, people are free to live their lives as they wish in their homes and communities.
The houses that members live in can be rented from the county council, privately rented, rented from a housing association or be owned by the member themselves. A supported living coordinator helps the member to find accommodation and manages the operation of the network.
The volunteer helps network members with day-to-day issues like paying bills and filling in forms and makes sure that members understand what is involved in their tenancy agreements.
The volunteer organises regular meetings of the network members and helps members to find out what is going on in the community and supports them if they wish to get involved. Members are expected to give support and practical help to each other and the volunteer helps members to do this
People have their own home; they are the tenancy holder. They hold the keys, control who comes and goes from their home. They pay their own bills, make their own decisions, take control of their daily activities. They do their own shopping, cook their own meals, make their own way to destinations.
Members have been facilitated in learning how to plan aspects of their lives that others may have previously done for them. Through this facilitation the members learn and often share this new learning with other members, which reinforces their own knowledge and confidence.
StepIn makes an annual charge per individual to cover the cost of its services. Normally, this will be met by a service provider, which should expect to see its costs for care reduced by partnering with StepIn. Please contact StepIn to explore this further.
OUR network members in Athlone are living in their local community in standard homes, a house or apartment. Over time, with the support of the volunteer, their fellow network members, their families, friends and support staff, they have been facilitated in learning how to live independently in their own place and in the community. Our volunteer finds out the amenities, activities, events and facilities in the Monksland area of Athlone, enabling each network member to access whatever they need or interests them.
The Athlone network members all do their own grocery and clothes shopping in the local area and in the town centre. They may be supported in the planning and budgeting by support staff or the volunteer but for the most part they do their own shopping. The absence of accompanying staff increases the chances for local people to interact with members as individuals in their own right. Over time the members have become very well known in the Monksland area.
Network members have been facilitated in learning how to plan aspects of their lives that others may have previously done for them. Through this facilitation the members learn and often share this new learning with other members, which reinforces their own knowledge and confidence. For example, a member did not know how to get the local bus into town: Support staff showed her where the stop was and accompanied her on the route into town until she was confident enough to do it with another network member. She then did not know the bus timetable, so the volunteer encouraged her to ask the driver for it: She did and a few weeks later showed two new members how the whole process worked all by herself.
Members have learned how to plan their time. They look up cinema timetables; arrange taxis to bring them out of town late in the evening when buses have stopped; how to order takeaway from local restaurants; how to pay bills at the local post office; and decide which local pub to go for a drink. With constant encouragement and reassurance from support staff and the volunteer that they have the right, the freedom and the ability to do these things for themselves, member gain a growing sense of their competence and agency over their lives.