COPE makes final push for million to complete refuge

Purpose-built home for domestic abuse service will offer a new, enhanced facility, which is urgently needed for many women

 Construction work on Modh Eile House is on target to finish in December.

Construction work on Modh Eile House is on target to finish in December.

A local charity is appealing to the public to donate vital funds to complete a new state-of-the-art domestic abuse service and refuge in Forster Street.

COPE Galway is seeking support from the people of Galway to help raise the remaining €1 million needed to complete the €4.3 million redevelopment and refurbishment of Modh Eile House.

This purpose-built home for the organisation’s domestic abuse service will offer a new, enhanced facility, which is urgently needed for many women and children in Galway. Construction work began on the project last November and it will be completed this December.

The local organisation is launching its “Buy a Brick for Modh Eile” fundraising appeal next Thursday June 27 when the construction team will briefly down tools to allow part of the building, which is located at 47 Forster Street (the former Sisters of Mercy convent ), to open to the public from 11am to 1.30pm.

COPE Galway’s domestic abuse service, currently based at Waterside House, is the only 24-hour accessible refuge in the western region. It provides refuge accommodation, information, support, and court accompaniment to women and their children experiencing domestic abuse.

In 2018, the charity worked with 457 women and their children who experienced domestic abuse. It was unable to immediately accommodate 169 women with their 233 children on 227 occasions due to lack of space. However, it provided emergency short term accommodation and worked closely with other refuges in neighbouring counties so they could be safe in the immediate term.

The charity provided 771 outreach appointments for 208 individual women; accompanied 201 women to court, and offered 148 play therapy sessions. An outreach service operates in the city and county for women in abusive relationships and who need support and information on their options.

COPE Galway’s search for a new facility began more than 10 years ago. After five years of trying to source and secure a suitable alternative, the Mercy Order offered the charity a gift of the convent building on Forster Street.

Modh Eile, the name of the new facility, was chosen by women who experienced domestic abuse and who believe this name, which is the Irish for “Another Way”, will give hope to others to find a way to rebuild their lives and create a better future for their families. COPE Galway’s vision is that Modh Eile House will provide a safe space for women and children to rebuild their lives free from domestic abuse and violence.

Jacquie Horan, the CEO of COPE Galway, says it is calling on local people to help create a safe place for women and children in Galway.

“This project is a reality - one that you can be a part of,” she outlines. “For most of us in Galway, when we close our front door, we know we are safe. Unfortunately, there are many in our local communities who experience the trauma of domestic abuse in all its forms, and when they look to COPE Galway for protection and support, they and their children deserve a facility that will meet their needs. We have raised two thirds of the money required to redevelop the site – now we need your help. We’re calling on the people of Galway to come behind us and help bring us across the line.”

The construction and fit-out cost of Modh Eile House is €4.3 million. Thanks to a Capital Assistance Scheme grant of €2.4 million and significant donations from a number of very generous benefactors, COPE Galway has made significant progress towards meeting this target.

However, to address the €1 million shortfall, Sharon Fitzpatrick, COPE Galway’s Head of Development explains the organisation needs the help of individuals, companies, and organisations in Galway to make a donation to its “Buy a Brick for Modh Eile” campaign. Donors will be given a name credit on its virtual wall and donations can also be given anonymously. The funds raised will not only help COPE to build a new refuge and service for women and children experiencing domestic abuse but will also help rebuild the lives of the women and children who use this service.

“COPE Galway’s current domestic abuse facility at Waterside House, in use since the 1980s, can accommodate just six women and 15 children in single room, bedsit-type accommodation. It is unable to meet the needs of all of the women who seek support. Modh Eile House will increase current capacity to accommodate at least nine women and 20 children, offering nine self-contained apartments with bedroom, bathroom, living, and kitchen facilities.

“It will also offer enhanced security and facilities allowing specialised individual and group support work, a fit for purpose childcare unit, suitable indoor and outdoor play areas, and office and communal spaces.”

To buy a brick and help raise vital funds for the new Domestic Abuse Service and Refuge at Modh Eile House, log on to www.copegalway.ie/modheileappeal or telephone COPE Galway on (091 ) 778750.

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