A success in which all of Galway should take pride- COPE Galway
Modh Eile House, the new home of COPE Galway’s domestic abuse services for women and children in Galway, has secured an Irish Council for Social Housing Allianz Community Housing award for 2021. COPE Galway has described this achievement as a success for all of Galway to take pride in and a recognition of the importance the people of the city and county place on protecting and supporting women and children who experience Domestic Abuse.
After over 40 years operating from Waterside House, the move to Modh Eile House in May 2020 represented the culmination of a near 10-year journey for the organisation to ensure that the building and facilities available to women and children seeking refuge and support because of violence in their own homes were of the highest possible standards. “The building we have at Modh Eile House today would not have been possible without the support of the people of Galway. Many individuals and businesses were involved throughout the planning for and funding of this project, and its design, construction and fit out. There are too many to mention here but they know who they are and we want to say a heartfelt thank you.” Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO of COPE Galway.
Modh Eile House is on the site of the former Mercy Convent on Forster Street in Galway city centre. This former convent, which formed part of the Magdalene Laundry site in the city, was generously donated to COPE Galway by the Sisters of Mercy in 2014, specifically for the purposes of becoming the new home for Domestic Abuse services in Galway.
The following six years saw the planning for and transformation of the old building on the site into the now award-winning premises. It has nine accommodation units ranging in size between one and three bedrooms. It offers extensive facilities for children of all ages, with a strong focus on facilitating therapeutic supports to address the trauma of experiencing and being witness to violence in their own homes. There are office and meeting room facilities where women staying in the refuge receive support, and where support is offered to women who continue to live in their own homes in the community.
‘Delivery of this new building was a significant achievement for COPE Galway on behalf of the people of Galway’ continued Martin O’Connor. ‘It would not have been possible without the unstinting support of Galway City Council who, through the Capital Assistance Scheme operated by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, funded the accommodation units element of the project which represented 60% of the overall cost. The remaining 40% is being funded through a combination of donations and contributions from the citizens of Galway and philanthropic support from individuals and foundations, including the Lifes2Good Foundation. We continue working on meeting this remaining portion of the cost of the development.’
During COPE Galway’s journey in redeveloping the site at Forster Street, the local charity was mindful of the legacy of the building and its association with the Magdalene Laundry. ‘As part of our project, we engaged with survivors and their families and others in the local community about the legacy of the building and the site. This engagement culminated in the production of a publication, Remember Respect & Record – The Magdalen Women of Galway, a tribute and memorial to the women who lived and worked in the Magdalen Laundry in Galway,’ explained Mr O’Connor.
The award was made at the Biennial National Social Housing Conference, held by the Irish Council for Social Housing, which took place between September 22nd and 24th 2021. Mr O’Connor concluded, ‘We want to extend a special word of thanks to Edel Tobin and her team at Simon J Kelly Architects and Paul Carey and his team at Carey Building Contractors for delivering to us such an excellent building, to which all who have contributed should be very proud of and for which we at COPE Galway are privileged to now be the custodians’.
Contact Martin O’Connor, COPE Galway Assistant CEO
Modh Eile House is the home of COPE Galway’s Domestic Abuse Service since May 2020. Its name, meaning ‘another way’, was chosen by women who have used the service. A national leader in domestic abuse support, our refuge facilities provide women and children with nine welcoming and safe self-contained apartments. Modh Eile House also offers a children’s service, teen space and an outreach service for women and children throughout the city and county.
COPE Galway is a local Galway organisation whose vision is for a community where every person is valued, cared for and supported at every stage of life. Last year, COPE Galway supported 2,616 men, women, children and young people across the city and county.
The COPE Galway Approach is one of understanding, respect and response to positively impact the lives of people who struggle with the challenges of homelessness and domestic abuse and supports older people towards healthy and active ageing. This approach recognises that each person has attributes and strengths that can make positive differences in their own lives.
COPE Galway has been providing essential social services across these three service areas to the people of Galway on behalf of the state since the 1970s. They offer support services from 11 locations across the city with a team of 170 employees and 180 volunteers.
COPE Galway’s strategy for 2020-2025 focuses the organisation on its mission: Making a difference by empowering people, creating change and strengthening communities. COPE Galway places its values – rights, respect, hope, community, safety and professionalism – at the heart of its work in the community.