A new €7m centre for children with disabilities is to be built on the outskirts of Cork City.
Enable Ireland launched a fundraising campaign yesterday for the 26,000sq ft facility in Curraheen — on the western outskirts of Cork City— to replace its ageing Lavanagh Centre in Ballintemple which has been providing therapy and support services since 1954.
“Over that time, the number of children needing services has increased significantly. Today, we work with over 640 children and their families and we need a new premises to continue to provide our vital services,” said Enable Ireland CEO Fionnuala O’Donovan.
“Our children deserve the best. We now ask the people of Cork to join us in making this centre a reality.”
The new centre, to be built on the seven-acre site of the former ESB social club in Curraheen, will provide therapy and support services to children with disabilities and their families. It will house a hydrotherapy pool, therapy and sensory rooms, and a children’s respite house where children with disabilities can develop their independence skills. It will also deliver specialist services including assistive technology, spasticity and tone management, an upper limb assessment clinic, Cork/Kerry orthopaedic clinic, hip and spinal checks, and GAIT analysis.
Ms O’Donovan said it will be amongst the best of its kind in Europe. However, the construction start-date depends on fundraising.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney turned the sod yesterday, with help from Julie Hayes’s four-and-a-half year-old daughter, Susie.
Susie, who has a neuro-muscular disorder attends preschool at the Lavanagh Centre and hopes to start primary school next year.
Ms Hayes said the new centre will make a huge difference in Susie’s life: “There is great scope for improvement because resources are very stretched. We always need more of everything. No one will ever tell they’re getting enough, so this new facility will make a huge difference.”
In addition to state funding Enable Ireland needs to raise more than €2m a year to fund its services to 5,000 children in 14 counties.
Meanwhile, singer songwriter Mick Flannery will help kickstart the fundraising tonight with a gig in the Crane Lane in Cork City.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved