The Galway Rape Crisis Centre, which officially opened its new premises in Forster Court this week, has revealed how the move had been necessary as staff had been forced to turn people away due to lack of space.
The new premises were officially opened on Monday by Druid Theatre founder Garry Hynes who was announced as the new patron for Galway Rape Crisis Centre (GRCC ). The GRCC moved to the new building at the end of 2012 after years of struggling to keep up with the demand for its services. The new building has 12 counselling rooms compared to just four in the previous building and also has a training room. The GRCC trains new volunteers every year to maintain its 24 hour/365 day service and previously had to do this training in various venues in the city.
GRCC also has outreach clinics in Tuam and Gort and is the largest of its kind outside Dublin. The HSE is its main funder helping to cover five full time jobs. The bulk of the service is carried out by trained qualified voluntary counsellors and advocates. GRCC relies on donations and fundraising for its running costs which comes to 20 per cent of its overall income. In 2011, 671 people contacted GRCC for help, one third of whom sought long term counselling.
Commenting on the opening of the new centre and its patron, GRCC’s executive director Aoibheann McCann said: “We are delighted to have Garry onboard. She is such a visible figure nationally and even internationally. The nature of our work makes us at times invisible so we feel this will address the balance. Despite having a six month waiting list with more than 40 people waiting for long term counselling, we know none of our clients will highlight this to politicians or media due to the nature of the crimes involved.”
The new patron, Ms Hynes, founded Druid in 1975 and has worked as its artistic director from 1975 to 1991, and from 1995 to date. From 1991 to 1994 she was artistic director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Ms Hynes founded Druid Theatre with Marie Mullen and the late Mick Lally. The latest in a series of awards, including four honorary doctorates saw Ms Hynes honoured as one of Ireland’s Top 25 Most Powerful Women at the Women’s Executive Network Awards Gala.
In moving to the new premises the GRCC received a lot of support and assistance from local businesses including Tom Dempsey Flooring which carpeted the building, B&Q which provided paint and decorative items, Mecon which supplied water savers, and various members of the public who provided furniture.
For more information log onto www.galwayrcc.org