COPE to set up new refuge for women and children experiencing domestic violence

A local charity which provided accommodation and counselling to more than 500 women and children experiencing domestic violence last year is to set up a new refuge in the city.

COPE says its current premises - Waterside House, which was set up in June 1981 to provide temporary safe accommodation - is not fit for its purpose and is too small. It currently accommodates fewer than half the women and children seeking refuge.

Outlining the results of its activities for 2011 and its plans for this year Jacqui Horan, COPE’s chief executive, said it helped more people last year across all of its services than ever before.

It delivered more than 55,000 meals to more than 260 older people enabling them to remain living in their own homes and it provided accommodation and support to more than 200 men and women experiencing homelessness.

The charity also provided more than 13,000 bed nights and nearly 40,000 meals to men, women and families as well as assisting more than 120 people to find and maintain their own accommodation and move on from homelessess. COPE also supported 470 individuals and 67 families at its day centre who were homeless or at risk of homelessness, and established six lunch clubs where 100 older people meet weekly and have lunch and a chat.

The charity is appealing to people to continue to support its work. Launching their new “Friends of COPE Galway” campaign Jacqui Horan urged Galway people to sign up to become regular supporters.

“Friends of COPE Galway donate a specific amount each month which provides vital funding for our work. The demands on our services are growing year on year and we are more dependent than ever on the public’s support. For just 70c per day (less than the cost of a cup of coffee ) you can help us to continue to provide shelter for homeless men and women, accommodation and support for women and children experiencing domestic violence, and meals and social supports to enable older people to remain living in their own homes. And even better, if you are a PAYE tax payer your 70c per day is worth even more to us as we can claim back the tax you paid.”

Among its aims for 2012 is to expand and extend its community catering service to reach more older people to enable them to remain living in their own homes in addition to expanding its homeless services to enable it to support individuals and families who are experiencing great hardship in the current climate.

John Concannon, the chairperson of the board of COPE Galway said 2011 was a “fantastic” year for COPE Galway in that it helped more people than ever.

“However we know that there are a lot of people out there who need our help and with the support of the Galway public we hope to be able to help even more people in 2012. All the funds we raise are spent here in Galway helping some of the most isolated people in our community - please become a Friend of COPE Galway and lets help together.”

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