DUNDALK Counselling Centre, which is based at 3 Seatwon Place Dundalk, has been a part of this community for 30 years.
It provides skilled psychological counselling both locally and to the entire North East region.
The centre is a charitable organisation that provides counselling to adults, children, adolescents, couples and families.
“On average we provide 5,000 counselling sessions per year,” said Ger Matthews Manager Dundalk Counselling Centre.
“We have charitable status and depend hugely on government funding which has been cut by 47.5 per cent over the past three years.
“We offer a reduced fee and in some cases where necessary there would be no fee.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of clients who attend our service that can’t afford to pay who have and continue to be seen by our service.
“We have seven staff and forty-five therapists who work here on a contract basis either as volunteers, interns, placements or sessional therapists.
“All our therapists are either fully accredited by IAHIP/IACP or are working towards accreditation. In both cases we ensure that all of our therapists are working to the governing body’s code of ethics.
“We are linked with a couple of local schools and offer counselling to both children and adolescents.
“We have found that there is a substantial increase for the need of counselling in schools and early intervention is recommended.”
But as well as cuts in government funding, the centre now has another problem.
In March the building next door to us went on fire.
“The fire pread across to our roof,” said Ger, “and we have sustained substantial damage to our roof along with water and smoke damage.
“All of our counselling rooms have been affected to varying degrees. Four of the rooms cannot be used which means we cannot offer our full services and are therefore incurring loss of earnings and extra costs we cannot afford.
“Our insurance won’t cover us either.”
And so the counselling centre has sent out an appeal to all local businesses asking for their help and support.
“Our service is vital for this community and the demand on our service is growing on a daily basis.
“People are very welcome to come and visit our centre to see what we do and to view the damage we have sustained.
“We appreciate that all businesses are under pressure at this time but we would be grateful for any assistance, no matter how small.
“People can rest assured it will be help and in turn the community to be able to avail of our service at its full capacity.”
If you would like to make a donation please contact: Ger Matthews Dundalk Counselling Centre 3 Seatown Place Dundalk. Tel: 042 – 9338333.
Remember that this is a service that is needed more than ever before.
Perhaps it is because of the recession or perhaps there are other reasons, but never before has there been such a need in our society for skilled counselling.
Please help if you can.