Nicki Jordan, Turas Manager, Marian Sloan, Nora Donaghy and Peter McKevitt, Turas Chairperson
The founders of Turas Counselling Services, Marian Sloan and Nora Donaghy, were celebrated at their retirement function in The Oriel Centre in Dundalk Gaol recently.
The two women, who established Turas in 2005, were highly applauded for their commitment, vision and achievements during their time at the helm of Turas.
Marian and Nora were both studying to be psychotherapists in Belfast and would travel up and down together. It was on these journeys that they discussed the lack of supports for people with an addiction in Dundalk and together decided to take action.
Both had previous experience working in addiction in Northern Ireland and saw the need for a community based addiction service in Dundalk. From the early days, the programme was about accepting people, supporting them and helping them to explore their potential and these core values remain the same today.
The first Chairperson and current vice-Chair of Turas was Cllr. Mark Dearey and at the function he fondly remembered the struggles and successes they faced, “There was so much work in the early days, getting the programme started, trying to get funding and setting up systems. The service user was always at the heart of our decision making and even when governance became a big focus we never moved away from that. It’s fantastic to see the rewards of all that work and that people are still receiving excellent support in Turas” he said.
Peter McKevitt, the current Chairperson thanked the main funders of Turas for their continued unwavering support over the years. He said “The HSE and North East Drugs Task Force have provided core funding to continue the work and have valued the contribution we make to providing interventions to people in addiction in the North East and for that we are grateful.”
Current Turas Manager, Nicki Jordan, who started in January said “I am privileged to have taken over such a fantastic organisation, with incredibly committed staff and supportive funders. The values of Turas speak for themselves and its success can be seen in the number of people who refer themselves for help, having had a positive recommendation from a friend. I look forward to continuing the work and meeting any new emerging needs into the future.”
Over the years Turas expanded and now offers a range of services including a community based alcohol detox, a structured day programme, motivational groups and one-to-one counselling. Last year Turas worked with over 300 people.