26,000 lives were impacted by Cork Counselling Service over the past 40 years

Cork Counselling Service celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. HUGH MORLEY, Head of Business, tells us about their plans to mark the milestone, reflects on the service’s history, and outlines their hopes for the future
26,000 lives were impacted by Cork Counselling Service over the past 40 years

At the recent graduation at Cork Counselling Services were; Back, from left: Martina Munnelly, Elaine Martin-Sullivan, John Dunlea, Sophie Gahan, Marcus O’Sullivan. Front, Aine Power, Liam Bolger, Mag Roche, Helena Hore.

CORK Counselling Services in Fr Mathew Street commenced its 40th anniversary celebration this year starting with the graduation of 14 more professionally qualified counsellors.

The long standing Cork charity and not-for-profit has been providing trusted therapy on a self-referral and equal access basis in the community since 1982.

It also provides professional training to would-be counsellors, reinvesting the profits into its counselling work. When you add together the clients it works, the student it trains and their clients in turn, the organisation has impacted almost 26,000 lives in that time.

MARKING A MILESTONE

The 40th Anniversary is to be further celebrated with participation in “Joy In The Park” on July 17 in Fitzgerald’s Park and with a Celebration Evening on August 26.

PIONEERING SERVICE

The services was one of the pioneers of community based counselling in the South Of Ireland, embracing equality and diversity from the start.

In 1982 Irish mental health was highly medicalised and centralised very much within the hospital system. 

From its foundation CCS has endeavoured to widen understanding of mental health so we acknowledge its role in all of our lives and promoted a successful community based model for mental health emphasising the ability to deal with and cope with mental health issues while continuing to live our lives as part of the community and at a fraction of the cost. 

More recently, they are part-funded by Tusla / HSE, in line with Sharing The Vision strategy and approximately 400 clients are seen per year.

ITS ORIGINS

In 1982 the organisation started in Bridge View, Sunday’s Well on a voluntary basis. Following a spell at 6, Cornmarket St., trading as “The Counselling Centre”, in 1990, they moved premises to 7, Fr Mathew St and have been there since.

in 1993, the first IACP recognised Diploma Courses in Counselling commenced and some years later in 2019, they were validated as an international academic partner of Coventry University in Cork’s twin city, offering a full B.Sc. Programme, conscious that national legislation will shortly require degree status to practice counselling. Many of their experientially trained graduates serve national and local services.

ONGOING FUNDRAISING

In 2020, the organisation provided continuous counselling and professional training throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2022, they are seeing a post-pandemic surge in client self-referrals.

Funding is still a struggle, and fundraisers are being sought, but the organisation is engaged.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

The service has recently launched its 2024 strategic plan, in which they plan to become Ireland’s first applied centre of excellence integrating counselling practice, training and applied research.

They are to build their brand, employ and train new online technologies, and demonstrate their efficacy for funding purposes. Throughout this time they will continue to expand their positive impact on mental health in the community.

For more see www.corkcounsellingservices.ie

ABOUT THE UPCOMING JOY IN THE PARK

Joy In The Park will be taking place for the first time in Fitzgerald’s park in Cork on the afternoon of Sunday July 17, 2022.

The event features a top line-up of music, with Indie legend and ringmaster Jerry Fish performing the John McCarthy Main Stage alongside innovative, world music band, KILA and Cork Ska favourites & Pontious Pilate & The Nail Drivers.

A free, fun filled family afternoon, Joy In The Park will take on a carnival atmosphere, promising a quirky and an eclectic mix of live music, spoken word, storytelling, children’s entertainment, circus, workshops, wellness activities alongside a delicious food market.

Alongside the entertainment, Joy In The Park will balance that sense of fun with connection and understanding, whilst raising awareness for mental health and well-being through an engaging programme of wellness, sensory activities and workshops, provided by the HSE/Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Community Work Health Action Zone Team and a number of organisations and community groups including Shine My Mind, GROW, Cork Counselling Services and Jigsaw. They will be joined by Pieta, Samaritans, Shine A Light and Aware.ie who will be at the event as part of the support hub, offering their support and information throughout the afternoon.

In partnership with Cork Mental Health Foundation, Joy In The Park will be a celebration of life, whilst highlighting the importance of minding everyone’s mental health and well-being through bringing the community together and finding their Joy.

The event is supported with funding from the HSE through the Connecting for Life Cork programme, as part of the HSE suicide prevention mental health strategy and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare.

For more information and programming visit www.joyinthepark.com

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