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Lives are being saved with funds raised from donations of unwanted quality used furniture

Lives are being saved with funds raised from donations of unwanted quality used furniture
Noreen Murphy of Lisheens House, the Cork suicide prevention charity which is urging people to donate their used furniture to help fund its services.

Donations of quality used furniture are helping save lives in Cork, as the proceeds from their resale are being used to fund one of Ireland's most deeply committed independent suicide prevention charities.

Lisheens House in West Cork sells donated furniture to raise money to fund its free counselling training and support to people in mental health crisis and at risk of suicide. This latest initiative is typical of the innovative charity, which has never received a cent in state funding for its services.

With demand on the services of Lisheens House having grown steadily, founder Noreen Murphy knew she had to do something to generate more funds.

After much soul-searching, Noreen decided that expanding the charity's primary income was the best solution. People living in West Cork will be familiar with the Lisheens House base in Skibbereen. The charity has now also sourced a new premises on McCurtain Hill, Clonakilty, Co Cork.

Lisheens House opened its new 4,000 sq ft used furniture store on October 10, to coincide with World Mental Health Day. The store is packed with quality used furniture and bric a brac, all of which has been donated by the people of Cork city and county. All of the proceeds are going to fund the work of Lisheens House.

Noreen Murphy, Lisheens House, in the charity's new furniture premises  on McCurtain Hill, Clonakilty, Co Cork.
Noreen Murphy, Lisheens House, in the charity's new furniture premises on McCurtain Hill, Clonakilty, Co Cork.

“We are truly blessed that the people of Cork and beyond have bought into what we are trying to achieve, and just because we don’t receive state funding does not mean we give up. There are far too many people who depend on us,” said Noreen, who lost her husband, Donal, to suicide in 2007.

“That’s why we are equally dependent on people donating their unwanted furniture and household items to us. It might be hard to imagine, but your unwanted sofa or wardrobe could really make a huge difference to someone in our community who is in a mental health crisis. It will help them get the help they need.

“The reason I started Lisheens House is that I don’t want another person or family to go through what my family did,” stated Noreen, who witnessed first hand the long waiting lists and lack of services both before and after her husband's death.

“We were very much cut adrift and left to look for answers and coping mechanisms when we were at our most vulnerable,” she added. “And that is what Lisheens House is all about – to provide counselling training and support to people when they need it without having to endure expense and long waiting lists.”

The new shop in Clonakilty will not alone generate those vital extra funds, but it will allow Lisheens House to let more people know about its services and what it does.

The new shop will also help raise awareness around the whole subject of mental health and suicide, because for far too long it was a subject that society dictated we did not speak about which only accommodated the prejudice, stigma and misconceptions.

A selection of the quality used furniture at the new premises which Lisheens House has opened at McCurtain Hill, Clonakilty, Co Cork.
A selection of the quality used furniture at the new premises which Lisheens House has opened at McCurtain Hill, Clonakilty, Co Cork.

International research shows that the more the topic is out in the open and spoken about, the less people are afraid of the subject. Knowledge really is power and that is why Lisheens House offers QPR Suicide Prevention Training, a simple three-step program that anyone can learn to spot the signs of someone who may be contemplating taking their own life.

“We believe the answer to the mental health crisis that affects people of all ages lies in communities getting educated about mental health, being comfortable talking about it and realising what resources are available to help someone in crisis,” said Noreen.

“We want to train people in every community to be able to spot the signs of mental health distress in their own circle, that is their family, friends, work colleagues or teammates. If we all have someone watching out for us, then we have much safer communities, and problems can be identified and dealt with as early as possible, and people do not need to suffer in silence. It really is a community effort.”

Watch Noreen's tour of the facility below and don't forget to unmute for sound

World Mental Day was also the day Lisheens House choose to unveil their new logo and tagline “Community Mental Health Matters”, plus their new website www.lisheenshouse.ie, which explains in simple terms the work which Lisheens House does.

Noreen is appealing to anyone who may be renovating their home, moving or having a good old fashioned clear-out, to contact Lisheens House on 086 4066348 or click on the link on their website, Here, to donate their unwanted goods, safe in the knowledge that it is going directly to helping someone in their community to get the help they need to get through their mental health crisis and avoid another person or family going through what her family experienced.

Lisheens House Community Mental Health Matters

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