After years of waiting and operating out of cramped and unsuitable surroundings, Wexford Rape Crisis are to have a new home in Maudlintown.
At the launch of the organisation's strategic plan at Murphy's Barn on Saturday, it was announced that Wexford County Council had offered them a site at the Rocks, heading up to St Mary's of Maudlintown GAA Club. Under the current plan, Wexford Women's Refuge would take a site on the left hand side of the lane, while Wexford Rape Crisis centre would be on the right, allowing the organisations to work in even closer proximity.
Currently, Wexford Rape Crisis is situated in a small office on Clifford Street which is not at street level, meaning it's not accessible for anyone with mobility issues. At the current location, there was also no prospect for expanding into vital adolescent play therapy.
'We've been waiting for this for a long, long time,' said Chairperson Mairead Sinnott. 'We've looked at several premises around Wexford over the years. We had even talked to the OPW about taking the old Garda Station. Thankfully though, it seems that we finally have a long-term solution.'
CEO of Wexford County Council Mr Tom Enright said that he was 'delighted to be in a position to offer the site' and that he was hopeful it would meet the long term needs of Wexford Rape Crisis.
Ms Sinnott says that they are hopeful that the project may get to the planning stages in the coming months with a view to getting work underway by the end of the year.
The news was warmly greeted by all at the strategic launch, which also saw the première of a new short film commissioned by the organisation, called 'Say Something'.
In a complete re-brand, Wexford Rape Crisis showed off their new literature and emphasised that they provide services for domestic, sexual and gender based violence.
As well as hearing from Chairperson Mairead Sinnott and manager Clare Williams about the great work that Wexford Rape Crisis does in the local community, former Miss World Rosanna Davison spoke of how she came to be involved with the cause.
'We were delighted to have Rosanna, who gave freely of her time,' said Chairperson Ms Sinnott. 'Local companies were good enough to present her with some gifts for coming that included a print by artist Ryan Allen, inspired by the work that we do, a handbag from Landa and designer Silvana McAdam and a voucher for new hair salon The Space.'
Over the course of the event, it was also pointed out that there had been a 100% increase in referrals to Wexford Rape Crisis within the past four years and the staff were keen to thank Wexford County Council for all their help to meet these demands.
While work getting under way on the organisation's new home is subject to planning permission, the overall consensus of those in attendance at the launch in Murphy's Barn was that they had taken a major step forward which will play a major role in helping those in crisis in future.