Louise Glynn joined COPE Galway in August 2022 after completing an LLM (Master of Laws) in Human Rights Law at Queen’s University Belfast.
She says COPE Galway had been on her radar for years, and she was happy about the opportunity to work for such an established organisation.
Louise started out working in the Family Hub at COPE Galway’s Homeless Service but found the shift work challenging and difficult to balance alongside her parenting responsibilities.
She had previously worked as a Healthcare Assistant in a nursing home where, she remembers, “Coming in every day with a smile and a positive attitude was very important. I was very attuned to the residents’ needs and would always find a way for them to be met.” Having found this previous experience working with older people so rewarding, she decided to make the switch to Sonas Drop-in Centre in October 2022. She also felt it would be a better match for her diverse skillset.
Alongside Louise in Sonas there are three Community Employment staff, one Tús employee (community work placement participant) and one volunteer to support clients with things like accessing healthcare or linking them in with other services.
Louise says a lot of the clients who drop in have a very limited support network, if any at all. She has been there to assist with anything clients might need, from key holding to helping them use a computer, from changing a lightbulb to welfare checks.
She enjoys the way no two days are ever the same and describes herself as “a jack of all trades”.
“You’re social worker slash support worker slash advocate.”
“It’s going from high needs to the basics,” she said. “You’re a huge support for the community.”
It’s clear from Louise’s open and warm personality that she’s well suited to the role, and she says she’s built a lot of trust in a short space of time.
“This place is like home,” she said. “It’s like their living room.”
Louise and her team listen to and observe their clients’ needs and try to adapt and facilitate whatever they can at Sonas to suit them.
One initiative she is particularly proud of is the introduction of the breakfast mornings to Sonas, where clients can come in first thing and select an affordable home-cooked meal of their choice from a nutritious menu.
This initiative was in response to clients saying they would prefer not to eat all of their meals alone.
“That’s what makes it,” Louise said. “When you see the impact that you have on someone’s life.”
She said the space has created a “micro-community” where clients had built their own support network where they look out for one another.
She said there was no way of predicting what kind of practical and emotional needs might come through the door that day, but regardless she always gives it her all.
For further information about our Sonas Drop-in Centre, phone 091 75 34 02