Respite and Recreation Service

The Respite and Recreation Service provides services nationally to people with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, their families, and carers. Its aim is to provide and develop respite and youth services that are conducive to the changing needs of our members.

The Respite and Recreation Service has been in existence since 2003. It provides services nationally to people with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, their families, and/or carers.

Respite and recreation services are provided and developed in line with what our members need and ask for.

We encourage our members to enjoy a healthy, social, active and fulfilled life, to avail of all education and employment opportunities and to ensure the development of a progressive society that is inclusive, aware and accessible to all.

The Respite and Recreation Team

We are a small team of specialist full-time staff is based in the National Resource Centre (NRC), Dublin, developing and organising all respite and recreation services nationwide. 

Temporary contract staff, such as nurses and occupational therapists, also work on our summer project, SHINE, and weekend getaways annually. 

Voluntary youth officers are based in SBHI Branches around the country and run events locally for specific age groups. 

Long and short term volunteers from nursing, education, social care, and a variety of other backgrounds assist with respite breaks, annual events, and SHINE in particular. 

Training for volunteers and contract staff is facilitated and organised by specialist staff at the NRC.

What we offer…

The Respite and Recreation Team develops and provides services that are conducive to the needs of our members. We also provide support, backup and input into all conferences, seminars and family weekends organised by SBHI. For more in depth information on our service please see below.

SHINE - Spina bifida • Hydrocephalus • Ireland • Nurturing • Empowerment

Every year we run SHINE, a residential summer independence training project which caters for teenagers and young adults from across Ireland who live with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus. 

SHINE takes place over five separate weeks in different venues and each week is tailored to meet the needs of specific age groups. In the region of 100 participants attend SHINE every year, along with a dedicated team of volunteers and staff.

The primary aim of SHINE is to encourage participants to develop their independence and social skills in a fun and safe environment. SHINE also offers valuable respite for the participants, their parents/and or carers.

Sports Adventure Away Week

We run an outdoor sports adventure week annually for adults who have reached a high level of independence, who are outdoor sports enthusiasts, and/or have a real interest in trying out some challenging sports. 

We use adventure centres adapted for people with disabilities. For the past number of years, we have been attending the Calvert Trust in the heart of the Lake District, Keswick, England. 

The multi-activity course includes: sailing, canoeing, horse riding, trap driving, orienteering, abseiling, archery, climbing, and swimming. 

All specialised/adapted equipment for activities is provided.

National Sports Fun Day

A National Sports Fun Day is held annually, usually in September of each year, where members of all ages and their families can take part in a number of track, field, and indoor events. 

The day provides an opportunity for both able bodied and people with disabilities to participate together in sporting activities in a fun and inclusive environment.


We celebrate seasonal events with activities for all members, their families and friends. 

Pay close attention to the calendar of events around Valentine"s, Easter, Hallowe'en, and Christmas! 

Youth Inclusion Projects

We believe in integrating our members in mainstream youth clubs and run a number of local projects in conjunction with professional youth services.