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WELL now! Isn’t that a brilliant new community development for Kinsale?

May 1st, 2021 7:05 AM

By Emma Connolly

Committee members from left include: Gearoid Wycherley; James O’Mahony, John O’Connor, Geraldine Machin, Tom Reilly, Carmel Murphy, John Thuillier, Mark Reilly and Eleanor Moore, (principal community worker, HSE).

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The seaside town is to get an innovative well-being hub in what is the first such collaboration of its kind between Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) and local community groups

WORK is to get underway on a multi-generational hub at the old HSE Dispensary on Kinsale’s Market Lane.

Called The WELL (Wellness, Education, Life-giving, Life-skills), it will be a new home for the local Men’s Shed, Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS) and the town’s Youth Community Café.

Planning is already in place, granted last September, and work on the building is ready to commence.

This came about in a new initiative, whereby Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is collaborating with the local community groups, all of whom are involved in supporting numerous multi-generational projects focused on health and wellbeing.

The building will be leased and managed by Kinsale Community Health and Well Being Resource Centre (KCHWBRC), a registered charity.

Its board of directors are Carmel Murphy, chairperson; Geraldine Machin, secretary; Tom Reilly, (KYSS); Gearoid Wycherley (KYCC) and John O’Connor (Men’s Shed).

The management of the project is divested to a wider group which also includes representatives of the HSE, design team and community representatives.

The three organisations to be accommodated in this development provide support, facilitate services and enhance the well-being of vast numbers of people who live in the greater area of Kinsale.

In the year ending May 2020, KYSS provided 270 professional counselling consultations.

A part-time health worker is employed and support services numbered 660 in this period.

Tom Reilly, of KYSS, said the move to the new hub would allow them expand their services, and with better accommodation, their service users would hopefully achieve even better outcomes.

Kinsale Men’s Shed caters for 30 members ranging in ages from around 40 to 85, and representative John O’Connor said they the new hub would be a ‘game-changer’ for them.

‘It’s a fabulous idea, and will allow us develop our workshop,’ he said.

The town’s Youth Community Café provides a safe, secure and entertaining space for the young people.

In non-Covid times, it employed a youth worker and it has over 60 members who use the café regularly with over 20 members using it more than once a week.

Representative Gearoid (Gerry) Wycherley said the new premises would give the group long-term security, and allow them integrate with other users providing inter-generational dialogue and support.

The WELL project is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development, West Cork LCDC and Secad Partnership CLG.

Cork County Council have also grant-aided the project from its community development initiative fund.

Committee chairperson Carmel Murphy said: ‘Each of the community organisations are in urgent need of accommodation and we are most fortunate that the HSE has deemed their invaluable contribution to the wellbeing of our community such, that it is willing to hand over this strategic building for this purpose.

‘We are also most grateful to Eli Lilly, Kinsale for a most significant donation towards the refurbishment.

‘We have also had financial support from First South Credit Union, and Kinsale Chamber of Business and Tourism in conjunction with the Bank of Ireland enterprise grants.’

Carmel emphasised how, when the world ground almost to a halt when the pandemic hit last March, their volunteer committee continued working tirelessly, behind the scenes, to get thisvaluable project over the line.

‘We didn’t falter and kept pursuing our goal which was to secure the building, secure the lease, along with the planning permission and funding,’ she said.

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