Childrens Grief Centre build launch – Pictured at the site of the new Children’s Grief Centre are Sister Helen Culhane, Children’s Grief Centre founder (centre front) and Olive Foley, Children’s Grief Centre ambassador (next to Sr Helen on right), Richard Lynch, I Love Limerick (kneeling front) with Children’s Grief Centre staff and committee members (front row) and the builders involved in the project (back row). Picture: Farhan Saeed/ilovelimerick.
Building commences on the new Children’s Grief Centre at Mary Immaculate College
By I Love Limerick correspondent Ava O’Donoghue
After the “dream build” fundraising campaign began last year, building on the new Children’s Grief Centre has now officially begun.
The new building at the John Henry Newman Campus at Mary Immaculate College will allow the centre to deal with the rising demand for their services.
The official Childrens Grief Centre build launch on Friday, February 11, 2022 marked a very special day for the centre.
“It’s actually a very emotional day for me and my colleagues, staff and volunteers,” founder Sr. Helen Culhane said commenting on the Childrens Grief Centre build launch. “We never thought we’d see this day and that we’d be launching our new build. There’s great excitement.”
“We’re looking forward to the future with glee in the fact that we’ll be able to provide a bigger and greater service to the children of Limerick, the Midwest and beyond.”
Children’s Grief Centre is the only centre of its kind in Ireland and the demand for its services are at a high.
The centre was founded 13 years ago to support children from the ages of 4 to 18 suffering from loss through death, separation, or divorce.
They provide a listening service for the children while providing intervention services such as painting, workbooks, and stories.
The children lead the sessions and feedback has been positive from those who avail of the services, so much so that the centre, unfortunately, has a waiting list of 300 children.
“It’s a dream come true,” Children’s Grief Centre Ambassador, Olive Foley, says. “We’re so happy to be here, the building is so beautiful. We’ve been very blessed to be gifted this incredible building.
“When you lose somebody, what I’ve realised is that you can’t do it alone, you need support, you need to go to somebody who can help you and there are people out there who can help.”
Speaking of her own experience with the centre, Olive said, “My kids really trust Sr. Helen and the Grief Centre. It’s somewhere that has brought them great peace since their father died.”
Cathal Gleeson of Nautic Building Company said, “The build involves the restoration of the existing structure and the architectural concept is to keep it in line with the original design. We are essentially modernising the mechanical and electrical and we will probably have it finished by September 2022.”
The build involves restoration of the existing structure of the building located on the grounds of the original Children’s Grief Centre. The build aims to align with the original design of the building while introducing a modern, child-centric design.
The rooms will be welcoming and warm, and there will also be a conference room. There is a plan to run educational services for the wider community.
The new centre will include a waiting room equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, a library, three adult support rooms and six staff offices, along with free parking.
“As soon as we get into our new building, we’ll be able to do more to help as many children as possible,” Sr Helen added. “People find it very difficult to talk to children about death and bereavement, so we will always be here to help. We want to thank JP McManus as this would not be possible without him. We also want to thank the people of Limerick and to everyone who contributed to making this dream come through.”
Fundraising is still currently taking place for the building and there is hope that it will open within 12 months.
To donate to the Children’s Grief Centre, go HERE
For more stories on the Children’s Grief Centre, go HERE