Work is getting under way to build a new hospice in Ireland, following a fundraising drive that has raised more than €5m in just two years.
The Roscommon Hospice, which is being built on a site adjacent to Roscommon University Hospital, will have an in-patient unit with eight beds, as well as full day-care and community care. Its hospice and palliative services will be shared with the hospital, supporting the community across the county of Roscommon, which has a population of around 64,000.
The project is being driven by local charitable organisation, the Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation, which has been providing palliative care services to terminally ill patients and their families in Mayo and Roscommon for around 26 years. Its fundraising efforts have enabled it to build its first hospice, in Mayo, which opened late last year, and it is now embarking on this second project. The Roscommon hospice will house a range of facilities, including a hairdressing studio and family accommodation for those wanting to be close to loved ones, and offer a welcoming and friendly environment. “In-patient rooms all have their own garden and patio so that patients can go out and breathe the fresh air and see the sun, because that is something they often miss,” explains Martina Jennings, chief executive of Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation.
All this is being made possible through the fundraising efforts and contributions of people far and wide. Support has come from community fundraisers with events such as quizzes and coffee mornings, the foundation’s 12 charity shops and the army of 300 volunteers who work in them, and major donors, among them Ballymore Group chief executive Sean Mulryan, who comes from Roscommon. “It has been so inspiring for us to have Sean’s support,” says Jennings. “He has believed in what we are doing and has become a great friend over the past few years.” That support has included helping to organise a charity dinner in New York last May at Irish restaurant Rosie O’Grady’s.
At a ceremony marking the start of the hospice’s construction, Sean Mulryan said: “The work of the hospice puts everything into perspective on life and the more we, the public, can give to help, the better. I am delighted to be a supporter of such a much-needed service for the people of Roscommon.”
Construction of the hospice is expected to be complete next year. “The difference it will make will be immeasurable,” says Martina Jennings. “It will allow us to step up a gear in our services and to bring dignity and respect to patients and their families.”