Meet Raph O’Connor our new Residential Services Manager
At Daisy Lodge we aim to create a caring, nurturing and safe environment far removed from hospital wards and treatment regimes. We spoke to Raph O’Connor to find out more about his role as Residential Services Manager at Daisy Lodge.
Can you tell us about your role and what this involves?
As Residential Services Manager my role is to ensure we deliver excellent therapeutic services through our short breaks programme for families coping with a cancer diagnosis and our residential programme for young people aged 8-24 years old living with cancer. We have a dedicated team of staff here at Daisy Lodge. They are passionate about their roles and strive to ensure that the short breaks we provide families are of the highest standard. As manager I welcome open communication from the team and by developing a positive working culture aim to inspire creativity, dedication and professional development within the team.
What does your typical working day involve?
There is no such thing as a typical day. I meet with staff to help organise the week ahead and oversee the planning of all our therapeutic and residential programmes. I also make sure I am available to respond to the needs of our families, staff, volunteers and supporters. A lot of my time is spent forward planning and liaising with our brilliant Community team, and our colleagues in Our Lady’s Children Crumlin to organise short breaks for families from the Republic of Ireland.
What are the benefits of a therapeutic short break to families?
Parents and children can find it extremely difficult to cope with the impact of a cancer diagnosis and the changes to their family circumstances. Whilst
each family is unique we find that following a short break they feel more connected and have less stress in their lives. Their mental and emotional well-being is improved and they feel more resilient and better equipped to cope. Peer support is also very important for families. They really benefit from improved social connection with other families going through a similar experience and as a result can feel less isolated.
Do you see a difference in families before and after their therapeutic short break?
Yes the difference is very visible. Following their therapeutic short break families are more hopeful for the future. You can see it in their faces, especially the children. They are also more relaxed and less stressed. Families also tell us that the long term benefits are so much greater, such as building a stronger family unit, increased resilience when dealing with every day challenges and regaining confidence after the traumatic effects of a cancer diagnosis. This is not to mention the wonderful memories which they have created together.
Do you have a memorable moment from your time as Residential Services Manager?
Taking part in my first cake decorating workshop with a group of diagnosed children has been my most memorable moment to date. The children’s joy and laughter was infectious. Families really enjoy these group activities. For many this can be their first short break away from home following their diagnosis, and an opportunity for them to get to know other children and families staying with us.