A nail bar is one of the extra features homeless teenagers can now enjoy as part of homeless shelter first upgrade in 15 years.

Riverview House ,North Mall, Cork, is a six-bed facility that aims to provide a “home away from home” for girls and women aged 15-19. It is run by Good Shepherd services in conjunction with Tusla, the child protection agency.

Its last revamp was in 2003, so Cork businesses joined forces and provided more than €7,000 worth of paints, flooring and kitchen appliances for a revamp that includes a communal kitchen, a specially made fireplace and a nail bar where residents can chat and relax while getting their nails done by staff members.

Allison Aldred, the CEO of Good Shepherd services, commended the local businesses, including DFA Sofas and Gaff Interiors, for their help in transforming the centre into a home.

A custom-built fireplace in the sitting room, complete with roaring fire, was a favourite among its clients.

“It’s so beautiful now,” one young woman said. “I can’t get enough of the sitting room: I can sit there all day and watch Netflix and talk, and I like to cook meals too.”

Liz Lowe, manager at Riverview House, said providing a relaxed and welcoming environment to residents is vital.

“We strive to make this as positive an experience as possible for the young people,” Ms Lowe said.

Staff work to help residents acquire independent living skills or, where appropriate, to reunite with family.

“Young people present to us because they need respite from home,” Ms Lowe said. “Every young person that comes here has their own unique needs.”


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