Renewing Roots is a free, confidential service for former residents of Ireland's Mother and Baby and County Home institutions, now living in the North of England. We provide support, advocacy and advice for former residents and their family members. Proud to be part of Fréa, a partnership of Irish charities across the North of England.
In the heart of the North of England, there's a story unfolding – one of courage, connection and healing. It's the story of Renewing Roots, a programme offered by Fréa, offering support to those with experience of Ireland's Mother and Baby homes.
These homes are part of Ireland and the UK’s shared past, and involve tales of loss and resilience, of women and children caught up in society’s expectations and judgement.
The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland paints a stark picture: thousands of women and children, each with a story, a name, a life altered by their experience. The report highlights not just numbers, but the lasting trauma, stigma and displacement for those who passed through these institutions.
Renewing Roots’ mission is rooted in empathy and action. It's not just about revisiting the past; it's about shaping a future where these stories are heard and respected. In terms of practical support, Renewing Roots can offer help with:
Birth Information and Early Life Records: For many, the journey begins with piecing together fragments of the past
Tracing Service: Reconnecting the threads of families long separated
Free Specialist Counselling: Supporting the emotional and mental health needs that often stem from such profound life experiences
Access to the Irish Government’s Payment Scheme: An acknowledgment of the wrongs of the past, offering some measure of redress
St Patrick's Mother and Baby Home, Navan Road, Dublin
But Renewing Roots is more than a list of administrative services. We offer a space where women can speak and be heard. It's about rebuilding a sense of community and identity. For many, this is exactly what the Mother and Baby homes took away. Our work can support former residents onto a path to healing, peace and belonging.
These services form just one part of a larger picture. The impact of the Mother and Baby homes extends beyond the individuals directly involved; it is woven into the fabric of families and communities. At Renewing Roots, we understand this. And we understand that our work is also about ensuring these traumatic experiences inform a more compassionate, understanding present - and future.
The Renewing Roots team - Patrick, Ciaran, and Natalie - are based in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. We are each committed to working alongside former residents with empathy, understanding, and respect. We are dedicated to all of the individuals and families whose lives have been shaped by these institutions.
Whether you're an individual who knows someone who might benefit from Renewing Roots, or an organisation that can help amplify our message, your involvement can make a difference.
By Ciaran Connolly
Did you or a family member live in one of Ireland’s Mother and Baby or County Homes? Contact us at email@example.com or call Patrick (Manchester) on 07432 138682, Ciaran (Liverpool) on 07732901782 or Natalie (Leeds) on 07849835841 for a free, confidential chat. There’s no obligation to continue if you choose not to after an initial conversation.
Are you an organisation of a professional working/potentially working with former residents in need of more specialised support? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or the phone numbers above.
Could you amplify our message? We’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at email@example.com.