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Pieta confirms all therapy centres will remain open following financial review

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There will be no downgrading of Pieta centres, as the charity announced that it will be employing additional therapists and redeploying admin staff who had been at risk of redundancy.

Pieta, Ireland’s national suicide and self-harm prevention charity, has confirmed that its 15 centres plus four outreach centres will not be downgraded or closed following an internal financial and operational review.

Pieta moved its delivery of therapy for those experiencing suicidal ideation, self-harm and those bereaved by suicide to over the phone in March following COVID-19 restrictions, and also continues to support those in immediate crisis through the 24/7 crisis helpline.

The postponement, due to COVID-19, of Pieta’s flagship fundraiser Darkness into Light, proudly supported by Electric Ireland, left the charity with a very significant funding gap. Pieta relies on the public for 80 percent of its funding to ensure it can provide its national mental health service free of charge. The people of Ireland responded to the challenging financial situation with generous support for the ‘Sunrise’ appeal which, along with a number of other initiatives, raised an incredible €6 million and significant awareness for Pieta.

These funds, together with the Government wage subsidy scheme, increased support from the HSE and a 30 percent pay cut to staff from April to June of this year, means that Pieta is in an improved financial position.

Key points arising from the review include that all 15 Pieta centres, plus its four outreach centres, are to remain open. There will be no downgrading of any centres. Centre hours will be restored back up to January 2020 levels. From next month, Pieta will engage in a phased reopening of centres for staff and will resume face-to-face counselling services from September, in accordance with Government guidelines post-COVID, 14 additional ‘full-time equivalent’ therapists will be employed, eight will support face-to-face counselling and six will join the helpline team to meet the increased demand, 10 full-time equivalent Centre Manager roles and 33 Clinical Support roles, that were identified at risk of redundancy in April 2020, will now be redeployed. From July 1, pay for all staff will be restored to pre-COVID levels, while the HSE has agreed to provide Pieta with additional funding of €114,608 per month, commencing in July. This funding must be spent on supporting the provision of 300 hours per week of therapy to high risk clients. Pieta will also be engaging with Government and the HSE on a sustainable funding model for the delivery of services.

“I want to express my gratitude to the Pieta team and to our supporters across the country for their help, support and patience over recent weeks," speaking about the Financial Review, Pieta CEO, Elaine Austin, said.

"Due to the overwhelming generosity and kindness of the people of Ireland, and increased support from the HSE and our corporate partnerships, Pieta is now in a more secure financial position, and we can confirm that our vital services will continue to be delivered across all of our Centres nationwide. The support has been unparalleled and very humbling. We know people need our service now more than ever in these times of crisis, and it is important that people know that we are here and they are not alone.”

For more information or to donate, please visit www.pieta.ie.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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