LOCAL carers were left stunned this week when they discovered that the West Cork Carers support group, with an office in Bantry, is to close at the end of the year.
In a letter sent to carers and their families, the group said they were closing to ‘reassess the future services to be provided for those caring for loved ones and family members across West Cork.’
However, they stressed it wasn’t an end for them, just an end to this current phase.
West Cork Carers Chairperson Maureen Broughton said: ‘In view of this changing environment and having completed the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, it is time to review and re-focus the organisation’s supports to reflect the changing needs of carers and to ensure the best possible service in the years ahead.
‘We will now be looking to adapt and focus on the future, what the carers in West Cork need, and what are the supports that are needed for the years ahead.’
With 20 years of experience, providing carers both young and old with information and support the West Cork Carers are adamant that the closure of the office in Bantry is not the end of the road for the group.
West Cork Carers board member, Joe Cronin told The Southern Star: ‘The group has supplied well over 1000 carers and their families with support and information since it was first formed back in 1998.
‘However, this isn’t the end as we hope, in conjunction with other state agencies, who we are confident will lead a consultation process, to determine just what the next phase will be.
‘We, The West Cork Carers group have come to an end in our current form. The lease is up on the building, the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan has finished, systems and services have changed and the number of supports available has grown, so it is time look at what is now needed for the future of carers in this region.’
Maureen added: ‘We want to thank all our staff and especially all the carers down through the years who have availed of our services. This is not the end for the West Cork Carers, it’s just the end of this phase. We will keep everybody regularly updated as to what is happening via our website and by emails.’
Meanwhile, local Fianna Fáil TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony said the decision of the group to close their doors will be a sad day for the people of West Cork, and in particular those who relied on their supports.
‘This is yet another example of deterioration in services for carers. This organisation has given fabulous service to carers over the past 20 years,’ she said.