care assistants standing by van

The History of RHS Home Care

RHS Home Care is a not-for-profit co-operative with charitable status, founded in 1996 in Roscommon Town. As the first social care not-for-profit co-operative of its kind in Europe, any surplus finance generated is invested back into the organisation.

The idea behind RHS Home Care originated from Mrs Maisie Gately, a grandmother from Curraghboy, Co Roscommon, who proposed the creation of a home services co-operative as a sister organisation to the existing farm relief services to the Mid South Rural Development Company, offering services such as home management, child care, and social care. Maisie's idea was approved under The N.O.W programme (New Opportunities for Women), which trained 30 operatives in these services, providing women in the home the opportunity to seek full-time employment while offering employment for operatives.

In 1996, homecare provision through a co-operative was a new concept in Ireland, and accessing funding posed a significant challenge. The RHS Home Care board of management held numerous meetings to explore funding options and eventually secured funding through the New Opportunities for Women program.

By 1999 we had 12 registered carers were in the community of Roscommon, and eight clients received their service. The local Health Board was effectively the only organisation providing homecare in the county. Veronica Barrett joined our company as a Part-time Coordinator on a 3-month contract. Her task was to attract more business to the co-op while operating on a limited budget. Veronica recognized that the primary demand in the area was for services to older people, but RHS had only a small number of carers and clients at that time. Furthermore, home care packages were unfamiliar, and people were hesitant to allow strangers into their homes. Despite these obstacles, Veronica's tireless work ethic and unwavering commitment propelled the company's growth.

The establishment of RHS Home Care co-operative was a gradual process that took about 6 to 7 years. Throughout this period, the small board of management displayed immense determination and perseverance, which was crucial in ensuring that the co-op never failed at any stage.

By 2001, Roscommon Home Services had around 30 carers in its employment. The co-op's not-for-profit ethos was a significant factor in securing substantial contracts with the HSE, which provided a stable financial income through regular invoice payments. This financial stability was critical at the time and helped to ensure the co-op's longevity. Additionally, the co-op benefited from a high level of community support and goodwill. As the demand for services continued to increase, RHS expanded its services to County Mayo, opening a new office in Balla and appointing a full-time Co-ordinator to manage operations.

By 2019, RHS Home Care had extended its services to cover Galway and Mayo, in addition to its existing presence in County Roscommon.

RHS Home Care has been providing non-profit, co-operative-style services to communities for 27 years. Currently, the organization has offices in Claremorris, Belmullet, and Roscommon town. With a team of over 300 experienced and compassionate caregivers, we serve hundreds of clients. Our goal is to maintain the high-quality services we provide and expand our services further across the Midlands, West, and Northwest regions of Ireland.