Cork 'secret service' women's charity launches website

The charity provides a secure base for girls and women who may have complex needs, or who may have become disconnected from their families.
Cork 'secret service' women's charity launches website

The service was established in 1995 by Sister Joan O’Leary, who identified a gap in services for young women presenting at the hospital who lacked family or community supports.

WELLSPRINGS, a Cork charity providing short to medium term residential accommodation for girls and women aged between 16 and 23, has launched a new website and is appealing for sponsorship.

Described as “Cork’s best secret service”, the charity provides a secure base for girls and women who may have complex needs, or who may have become disconnected from their families.

The service was established in 1995 by Sister Joan O’Leary, who, while working as a nurse in the Mercy Hospital, identified a gap in services for young women presenting at the hospital who lacked family or community supports.

Sister Joan, who still volunteers at the charity, envisioned a discreet city centre service offering security and safety to young women, while providing supports and forming lifelong connections.

Wellsprings currently provides residential accommodation for up to six, while offering active outreach support to 59 women, and has over the years cared for 235 women, many still in contact.

Valerie McDonnell, manager, told The Echo that while the service it provides has grown over the years, the charity operates with a small staff on limited resources and a very tight budget.

“The majority of the funding Wellsprings receives is from Túsla, but we rely heavily on other, small donations to make the most of what we can provide to the women with whom we work,” Ms McDonnell said.

“The launch of our website is the start of our engaging in a conversation with the people of Cork, and an opportunity to highlight the very important work that Wellsprings is doing in a very quiet way in Cork City for the past 26 years.”

Ms McDonnell said the charity has always offered a very discreet service, and has been — and continues to be — extremely protective of the identity and privacy of the young women using its services. 

“We are less well-known than other charities who are more visible, and while that has worked in our favour in terms of discreetness, in terms of trying to acquire funding and support in the community, that lack of visibility is holding us back,” she said.

Contact Wellsprings on 021 2318953 or at wellsprings.ie

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