YMCA: Parent and Kids Together (PAKT) programme

A collection of the toys used in this project arrayed on a table

YMCA PAKT is a community based family support programme involving children aged six to sixteen and their families in Cork, Kildare, Dublin West and Dublin Central. Neurodiverse children have begun to be referred to the programme and Mr Brian Murtagh (then Chief Development Officer) requested that I lend my expertise in relation to inclusion of these children and their families. This project commenced in October 2021 and is ongoing. I have delivered the following to the organisation:

  • Working with Mr Brian Murtagh to devise a funding proposal for the project which was subsequently successful.
  • Twelve hours of training/equipping of the PAKT staff team.
  • Nine Hours of training/equipping for parents attending PAKT with neurodiverse children in the Kildare programme.
  • Managing the budget so that I could hire and mentor an Occupational Therapist to provide thirty hours of sessional occupational therapy for neurodiverse children in the Kildare programme.
  • Write a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of the programme on the staff, parents and children who participated. This was used to submit a funding proposal so that the project could be expanded to other areas.
  • Following the evaluation report, I assisted Ms Elaine Underwood (YMCA PAKT Programme Coordinator) in putting in another funding application, which resulted in expanding the training I deliver to the wider YMCA staff across both North and South of Ireland (December 2022 – April 2023); working with the parents of neurodiverse children in Tallaght and hiring and mentoring an Occupational Therapist who will deliver individual therapy to the children. I have acquired the funding to evaluate this programme.

Funding for the project was jointly provided by The Lorna Byrne Children’s Foundation and Tusla
Child and Family Agency.