12 January 2016
MY TIME AT ADAPT by John O'Doherty
MY Time at ADAPT
From 2012 to 2014 I worked at ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services. I was first hired under a community employment scheme and was then successful in obtaining a Job Bridge placement. Upon arriving at ADAPT I was introduced to each department and was surprised to see how big this organisation was and how many people were working hard behind the scenes. My role was graphic designer; my job was to basically create all of ADAPTS printed advertising material. During my first few days I was given plenty of material to read about domestic abuse. I won’t lie to you, it was shocking and depressing. The one thing that really disturbed me was that even disabled women were abused.
I worked with a great team whose responsibility is to train front line services. They train the guards, health care professionals and many other charity organisations how deal with domestic abuse situations. I also attended this training which is mandatory for anyone working at ADAPT. This time I wasn’t reading the info I was participating in group exercises and really understanding an abused person’s stark situation. How the abuser turns the family against her, how he controls every aspect of her life and how he uses emotional blackmail as a weapon. It was an eye opener and I saw how this training was vital for front line services.
Along with the training ADAPT has a fantastic refuge that caters for a lot of women and their children. The team that run it are amazing and work long shifts. They depend on donations to give a great service and do great fundraising work. One of my jobs was to design fundraising posters and material for the fundraising officer in my department. There is also an excellent counselling service and legal team that help the women know their rights. ADAPT also provides a wonderful Child & Youth service. Here the staff do a great job here in keeping the kids busy and active. From learning gardening to an amazing play-ground the children are always doing something. I was asked to give art classes once a week to help out. I enjoyed this and it was nice to get to know the kids and help to take their minds off what was going on. Because of the dark nature of domestic abuse, once a month there is an excellent counselling service at ADAPT for all employees.
Every year there is a Fun Day where staff and residents get together and participate in games, cook food, receive beauty treatments and generally have a laugh. Another role I had was co-editor and designer of the ADAPT newsletter. We published stories on public events and domestic abuse. We also added small stories like a report on the children’s garden or an employee profile to show the community element of ADAPT.
IN 2014 my time at ADAPT finished. Unfortunately the budget was slashed and a number of us just had to finish our placements. ADAPT could not offer anyone a job. After being told time and time again that you are invaluable and that they’d be mad to let you leave it was like a kick in the gut. Like most of the people that worked on the Job Bridge scheme there was no job at the end. I have to laugh these days when the news announces that employment is up, more propaganda lies, the merry go round of scamming job schemes is up.
A year later I visited and was shocked to see how much things changed. It was around the time the government cut all of the funding to the Rape Crisis Centre, a charity that works closely with ADAPT. I was informed that a lot of the staff had gone and that departments were barely ticking over, my department was almost diminished due to more cuts. The¬ busy, happy atmosphere just wasn’t there anymore.
Last year I completed a Microsoft Office course at the Limerick (FAS, SOLAS… whatever) Training Centre and decided to do my months training at ADAPT. I was completing boring spread sheets in the archives room, a far cry from a fun art class or taking photos at a fashion show fundraiser. I met some new faces, people that were on some job scheme or another, a disillusioned graduate, a hard working mother, a nice lad, people with so much potential going nowhere. If ADAPT had the funding to offer full time positions imagine how valuable and appreciated these people could be.
I walked through my old department that was like an old store room. This place was so busy once and now was just occupied by one person occasionally. It was so sad to see such an active, busy department in this state due to cuts. In the canteen people would complain over the house tax and water charges, they would talk about how hard it is to manage and how much they miss their children living in Australia or America. They were cheated, abandoned and angry. Well we’re all angry.
I finished my work experience and said my goodbyes. Like many other charities, ADAPT is a vital service. It is being diminished cut by cut thanks to this government, a government that is only interested in attacking the vulnerable and rewarding the wealthy.