Cancer support group withdraws service just months after opening

Majella O’Donnell

By Christy Parker

A cancer support organisation is withdrawing from an east Cork town just months after its centre was officially opened by cancer survivor Majella O’Donnell.

Cork Arc cancer support house in Youghal had been providing treatments and supports to upwards of 90 patients from east Cork and West Waterford.

Although officially opened last August, it had been providing a once-weekly service since May 2017.

The facility’s team of trained volunteers provided counselling, advice, therapeutic massage, reflexology, yoga, and other treatments to patients.

However, in a statement yesterday, city-based Cork Arc said it was withdrawing from Youghal as it was “not possible to agree to a working arrangement in relation to the property”.

Local volunteers in Youghal have indicated they intend to continue the service but the city-based charity said it was severing its role at the end of November.

Trustees of Cork Arc initiated the city-based project in 2001 and had a service up and running by 2003. It also operates out of Bantry in west Cork. The charity said it had “invested heavily” in developing its Youghal branch, including “capital sums in the property” at Friar St.

A statement said that, despite “going to every possible length to ensure that the service was a success”, the working arrangement was deemed unsatisfactory.

Under those circumstances, it was not possible to provide our service effectively from the premises,” the statement said.

The property, a former B&B, had been purchased by the Youghal Cancer Support group on foot of a five-year fundraising drive initiated by a local cancer survivor. The building was reportedly leased by local charity Cuan House to Cork Arc for a nominal €1 fee.

Cork Arc said it had hoped to deliver services up to the end of 2018 but was “asked to leave by the end of this month as Cuan House advised that they intend to operate a service from the premises from December”.

A Cuan House spokesperson confirmed that the local body, also registered as a charity, intended to continue providing support services. The estimated running costs are €55,000.

Yesterday, its spokesman said the local trustees would issue, in due course, a full clarification following consultation with all of its members.

Widely supported across a huge catchment area, the group raised over €200,000 through community fundraising efforts, including a celebrity livestock auction at Dungarvan mart in 2013.

This story was edited after publication.

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