The hum of heavy machinery has been evident from The Rocks Lane in Maudlintown in the past couple of weeks as work began in earnest on the construction of the new state of the art Wexford Women's Refuge and Wexford Rape Crisis Centre.
The site, at the entrance to the Rocks and St Mary's of Maudlintown GAA Club, was provided by Wexford County Council in a bid to take both organisations out of their current cramped, unsuitable surroundings.
Groundworks are now under way at the site, which is a complicated process in itself, given the amount of rock underground in the area. The latest estimates are that both organisations could hopefully be in their new homes as early as Spring of next year.
Wexford Women's Refuge is currently situated on Distillery Road and can only accommodate four families. They face a constant struggle, having to turn women and families away, trying to accommodate them in other refuges around the south east. The new development has been allocated over €2 million and will provide 12 standalone apartment units.
'It's great to finally be at this stage,' said Pauline Ennis, manager at the refuge.
'We've been fighting to get to this point for nearly two years. It's brilliant that we'll now have 12 individual units so the women and children involved can have some independence.'
Ms Ennis also added that three of the 12 apartments will be reserved for emergency accommodation for homeless families, something which is a major issue for them.
'We regularly have women and children staying and when it comes time for them to move on, there's a lack of affordable accommodation out there for them,' she said.
'This results in them staying much longer and creates a backlog. One family, we had here for eight months in total. The extra space will allow us to respond to emergencies more effectively which is great.'
Meanwhile, the Wexford Rape Crisis Centre have been operating out of cramped quarters in Clifford Street. The office is not at street level, meaning it's not accessible for anyone with mobility issues, and also there was no prospect of expanding to cater for vital adolescent play therapy.
Both organisations are greatly looking forward to making the move into their new premises and the major boost it will provide for the vital services that they provide.