White Oaks Rehabilitation Centre on the Donegal-Derry border is in the running for a top award from a London-based organisation which rewards excellence by healthcare providers in the UK and internationally.

White Oaks has already treated a number of Irish clients from the States – and welcomes further enquiries and clients from USA.

The Centre was the initiative of the Columba Community and its leader, the Rev Neal Carlin. It opened in 2001.

White Oaks has been short-listed in the annual “CHKS Top Hospital Awards 2012”, to be held at gala ceremony in London next month. About 200 key decision-makers from across the healthcare sector, including chief executives, senior managers and healthcare provider clinicians, will attend the event.

The Columba Community has developed a number of excellent services for people on both sides of the border. These include Columba House of Reconciliation and the adjacent Y.A.R.D Project at Queen’s Street Derry, St Anthony’s Retreat Centre and the attractive Celtic Peace Garden and IOSAS Centre near White Oaks. Each is dedicated to serving need in the local communities.

Representatives of statutory bodies, politicians, volunteers and staff attended a function at White Oaks Centre on last month (subs: Monday April 2) when details of the CHKS accolade were announced by Fr. Carlin, the Centre’s Managing Director.

White Oaks, which is a cross-community initiative, provides residential treatment for adults with addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. Its services include counselling for the families of those with addiction as well as post-residential support for clients at White Oaks and three locations - Letterkenny, Donegal Town and Sligo.

The nomination is a milestone in the Centre’s development and is seen as a vote of confidence in its rehabilitation programmes which have helped many hundreds of clients.

The Rev Joe McCormick, a Spiritual Director at the Centre, said: “We’re overjoyed about the nomination. It’s a marvellous distinction for White Oaks. Simply to be short-listed and be in the company of other leading innovators is in itself a huge boost and I’m confident that the nomination will further enhance our reputation among our clients and the agencies and medical services who refer people to us.”

CHKS is a UK and international accrediting organisation that rewards important achievements in innovation, improvement and dedication to world-class healthcare. It has a prestigious reputation in the healthcare community and its awards are highly prized as evidence of excellence.

White Oaks has been short-listed for the only international award at the event, the “CHKS Quality Improvement Award 2012”. It recognises significant improvements in patient care and patient experience as well as staff welfare, safety and morale. It is open to all healthcare organisations accredited by CHKS in 2011.

Marguerite Hamilton, Chairperson of White Oaks, said: “This CHKS nomination is clearly a stamp of approval for the person-centred high quality content of White Oaks’ programmes and for the dedication of our staff and volunteers. Very importantly, it validates the financial, practical and spiritual strengths we receive from our supporters on both sides of the border. We could not exist without them. “

Fr. Carlin said: “This independent endorsement will, I am sure, be favourably noted by statutory bodies and agencies in the Republic, such as the HSE North West whose grant aid is crucial for us. We continue our efforts to have the Health Authorities in Northern Ireland contribute financially towards the treatment of the needy clients from their area who have difficulty in making a suitable contribution to the upkeep of the Centre and its good work”

White Oaks has 12 residential units and provides a 30-day residential course followed by one-to-one sessions between each client and their designated counsellor and a two year period of post-residential weekly meetings. Its current rehabilitation programmes and residential capacity means it can treat up to 144 people per year at its 35-acre countryside site between Muff and Burnfoot in Co Donegal, and just a half-mile from Derry.

It follows the core treatment programme derived from the approach pioneered by the Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota, USA. It combines counselling and group therapy with support for “12 Step Recovery” programmes such as those operated by Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The courses included family participation one full day every week and therapeutic work such as light household duties, arts and crafts, gardening and yoga. Almost all of the adults who attend White Oaks live in the Republic. An average of 20 people per year from Northern Ireland attend for residential treatment. They include people who are unable to gain access to other treatment centres in the North.

Fr Carlin, in acknowledging the efforts of all of those involved in the achievement to date, said the Centre would continue its efforts, not only to maintain its high standards but to improve upon them. That, he said, presented a challenge, particularly in the present economic climate.

He added: “Immense gratitude is due to our highly professional staff and our many volunteers for their varied services. We are fortunate to have had from day-one our Board personnel, the support of our funding agencies, HSE, NW RDTF and Donegal County Council, and the Friends of White Oaks who have contributed to fundraising and supported us over the years. We thank also the media, particularly our local radio stations and local newspapers, which keep the public informed of our service developments.”

Visit White Oaks website – the best in alcohol, gambling amd drugs rehabilitation

White Oaks Rehabilitation Centre Donegal