Galway Rape Crisis Centre’s ambitions to move to new permanent home boosted by €120,000 donation from Aviva Ireland
Galway Rape Crisis Centre is delighted that its dreams of moving to a permanent home in Galway city centre has come closer to becoming a reality following receipt of a financial donation of €120,000 from Aviva Ireland. The new premises, will provide a much-needed permanent home for GRCC’s work with survivors of sexual trauma and abuse in the city centre at Claddagh Quay, overlooking the Claddagh Basin. The charity currently operates from its temporary home, The Lodge in Forster Court. The increased demand for its services has accelerated the need for a permanent home where our clients can feel safe and secure when working in and visiting the Centre.
GRCC is now the second largest rape crisis centre in the country, providing counselling and support to individuals who have experienced sexual abuse and assault in counties Galway, south-Roscommon, and north-Clare. GRCC continues to experience increasing demand for its services, which has grown exponentially since the outbreak of the pandemic. From 2018- 2021 GRCC has seen a 33.5% increase on offered appointments. The charity has currently 27 part-time and five full-time staff to manage the ever-growing demands for their services, including offering Saturday counselling to help alleviate the waiting lists for those seeking support. This is an indication of the level of trauma that exists within our communities.
GRCC owns the premises at No 7 Claddagh Quay, where they operated for over 20 years. They moved to the current accommodation in Forster Court as demands for its services increased and they needed additional space. The plan now is to demolish the old premises on the Quay and build a modern, three-storey building in its place. The first centre was established in 1984 and the charity has occupied a number of premises in the intervening years.
Commenting Cathy Connolly, Executive Director of GRCC said: “We would like to express our thanks to all the staff and management at Aviva Ireland for this very generous donation that will contribute greatly towards the construction of our new premises. Aviva established a partnership with us at the end of 2019 and has provided tremendous support across a range of activities since then. The company purchased phones and IT equipment enabling counsellors to continue to support the many who needed our services during the pandemic when we had to operate remotely. Aviva staff in Galway have organised fundraisers and volunteered their time – helping develop our brand guidelines and redecorated our premises and gardens”.
Speaking at the announcement Declan O’Rourke, Chief Executive Officer, Aviva Insurance Ireland said: “We are delighted to support the tremendous work that Galway Rape Crisis Centre do on an ongoing basis. We are also very aware from our close working partnership with them and from hearing from other charities that the demand for their services is unfortunately increasing on an ongoing basis. In addition to our financial donation announced today, we are pleased to extend our partnership with them for a further two years. Our colleagues in our Galway office are proud to support GRCC as our regional charity partner”.
Cathy Connolly continued: “Our ambition is to provide survivors of abuse with a place to come to for counselling that is bright, modern and safe. It will be client-centred and welcoming while providing privacy and confidentiality to all. I would also like to thank Aviva Ireland on behalf of our many clients, who are not in a position to do so themselves. The total estimated construction costs for our new premises are in the region of €1.2 and we continue to welcome contributions and donations from local businesses and the community. We hope that the new premises will be completed next year”.
Also speaking at the announcement, Norman Costello Sales Director for Aviva Life and Pensions said, ‘’As a Galway native, I am delighted that we can support such a worthy local cause. The work that Galway Rape Crisis Centre do in our community and beyond, has a tremendous impact and we are delighted to celebrate our on-going partnership with this support from Aviva’’.
GRCC’s clients include men, women, and adolescents from 14 years of age. Clients are treated with respect and most importantly, their stories are listened to and believed. All counselling services are free to everyone. In addition, the Centre have developed an education department during the pandemic, another positive move in the fight to educate and help alleviate sexual abuse.