Kerry Parents & Friends Association (KPFA) is a registered Charity, No. 6871, a company limited by guarantee (CLG) No. 112184.
KPFA was established in 1973, as a fundraising support group to assist the Sisters at St. Mary of the Angels in Beaufort who were providing services for children with intellectual disability from the Kerry area. Very quickly, it became apparent that services were required to cater for adults with intellectual disability in Kerry and by agreement with the Sisters, the fundraising group set up a separate Charitable organisation called Kerry Parents & Friends Association. In 1978, KPFA opened their first house in Tralee, called Mount Eagle Lodge, followed in 1984 by Fr. Corridan Centre in Rathmore. From there, with agreed HSE funding, the organisation grew to a countywide organisation, providing Day, Residential, Respite, Home Support and Outreach Services to adults with intellectual disability in Kerry. Centres are located in Tralee, Killarney, Rathmore, Castleisland, Listowel, Valentia and Cahersiveen, with smaller outreach hubs in other towns around the County.
KPFA’s services are not fully funded by the HSE and therefore it is vital that it continues to fundraise to address unmet need as this arises. The Association is very grateful for the support it receives from communities in Kerry and beyond.
Over the years, KPFA negotiated the further expansion of services with the HSE in an effort to meet unmet need as the demand for support grew and today, the organisation operates from 30 Centres throughout Kerry providing day, residential, respite, home support and outreach services to more than 250 people and their families. It employs more than 300 staff, in excess of 30 volunteers, scheme workers and students in the front line, who are all contributing in their own way to the enhancement of the services. Active branches still exist in Listowel, Castleisland and Rathmore and they run many local events to support the services, but with the Association catering for such need in Kerry, more and more unrestricted funding is required to pay for services not covered by the HSE and to maintain buildings and the transport fleet. For this reason, fundraising is as important as ever and KPFA is very thankful to the communities within Kerry for their ongoing support.
The Association is a member of the National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers (NFVSP) which is the national umbrella organisation of voluntary/non-statutory agencies who provide direct services to people with intellectual disability and autism in Ireland on the basis of service arrangements with the HSE.
To deliver life enhancing services and supports, responding to the needs, wishes and choices of people with intellectual disability, connected to support networks in their community
KPFA is a very efficiently run organisation. It ensures maximum support to families around County Kerry. The organisation is governed by a Board of Directors and run by a Senior Management Team. Directors represent family, community, public sector and business. Directors retire by rotation at AGM each year. This organisation keeps the people it supports as its central, most important element of its decision making process. Everything revolves around the person and the organisation strives to meet needs wherever possible, but it needs continuous support of the community to deliver on ever increasing, unmet need.
Being involved with KPFA is like being part a large extended family. The people we support are among the most affectionate and loyal you are likely to meet, and we have grown old together and have shared many joys and sorrows births, deaths and marriages. While people may be supported by staff in the activities on daily living, we too gain many benefits. We have learned patience and humility and our spirits are lifted by their delightful pleasure in simple events.
In every place that we find ourselves, be it physical places like home or work or emotional places like times of challenge, change or illness, the most important thing is always “who is with me?” No man is an island and the relationships we have, whether work, family, friends or acquaintances, are what sustains us and what helps us grow up into our full potential. In every relationship, the central tenet has to be respect, followed by acceptance, support, encouragement, understanding and love and that is what we experience in our work in KPFA, as well as fun, challenges, safety, joy and a lot of satisfaction.