SCHULL Community Care Centre – an organisation that is responsible for the delivery of 140 hot meals to older people living in the community – is providing, not just nourishment, but social contact too.
On a recent Thursday, some of these clients – who also happen to be members of The Thursday Club – came together to celebrate the ongoing success of the community care centre.
The centre has recently undergone a €22,000 refurbishment of its dayroom – a room that also provided the perfect venue for the launch of a new book written by The Thursday Club members.
Nuala Hegarty, who is the treasurer of the Schull Community Care Association, explained that approximately half of the funds for the refurbishment came from Cork County Council but the association paid the balance.
Previously, the dayroom was somewhat gloomy by the fact that the windows were set high on the wall so Schull Community Care engaged a builder to completely knock the front wall and put in its place a bay window that extended out 4ft.
Such a seemingly simple change has had a transformative effect on the centre – not only does it allow more light into the room, it makes for a tangibly better atmosphere, as well as offering the clients a bird’s eye view of what’s going on outside.
Nuala believes the investment has paid off because now the room is being used by a much wider variety of social and sporting organisations in the community.
As part of the refurbishment project, the association also invested in a big screen and an overhead projector, which is just perfect for The Thursday Club’s weekly game of bingo, their morning exercise classes, and the odd movie or two.
The group enjoys a diverse range of activities, including cards and quizzes, and musical entertainment, plus the pleasure of each other’s company from 10am until 4pm.
Over the last four years, the members of The Thursday Club have got involved in a variety of arts projects and, this year, they wrote a book entitled Our Thoughts Fondly Stray – A Collection of Stories, History and Images from the Thursday Club at Schull Social Centre, which is available to buy at the local Credit Union office.
The project’s arts facilitator, Karen Minihan, explained that the project was part-funded by Cork County Council and the finished book features the stories, memories, artwork and photos of 19 club members. In one of the entries Alice O’Driscoll recalls the day her family landed the biggest catch of mackerel in Schull. The haul was caught at the Fastnet but they had to leave two nets behind because they couldn’t bring the entire catch home.
Alice said: ‘People came from Ballydehob and everywhere in horses and carts to take away the fish – that day everybody got some.’
Betty O’Brien, who was born at Rath, near Baltimore, but now lives in Schull, recalled how the railway line ran at the back of their house. She said they loved running to hear the sound of the steam engine as it passed every evening.
With each passing year, practical and life-affirming projects are being successfully completed at the social centre in Schull. The Schull Community Care Centre has always had an ‘onwards and upwards’ approach but never more so than five years ago when it embarked on a major project to overall the kitchen facilities.
With the support of the diocese and the HSE, the Association built a modern, catering kitchen that meant they could expand the service.
The meals go out on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from Schull, and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays the clients, if they wish, can place their order with the Goleen Community Centre, which also operates a Meals on Wheels service.
It is a service that is expanding all the time. Just 12 months ago, the Men’s Shed in Durrus were keen to do their bit and now they come to meet the delivery van in Dunbeacon and take charge of 28 meals that they distribute throughout their community.
A district nurse recently explained what it means for someone to receive a home cooked meal and a tasty dessert prepared by the organisation’s talented chef, Ellen Logan, and to have it delivered directly to their home.
She said: ‘It is nourishment, it is healthy, and it is the social contact, too, of the driver calling to the door.’ And, at just €4, it is inexpensive as well.
There are a number of reasons why the service can be provided so cheaply, according to Nuala. She said two of their benefactors, Denis and Mary Ryan, hand over a new Citroen delivery van every six months, which greatly helps to reduce the Association’s annual costs.
Nuala said: ‘The Association is also very grateful for the tremendous support we receive each year during our flag day during the August Bank Holiday weekend.’