Skibbereen Geriatric Society Ltd.
Providing Quality Services For The Older Adults of Skibbereen & its Environs
Skibbereen Geriatric Society Ltd., a voluntary organisation, was founded as a result of a public meeting convened under the auspices of the St. Vincent de Paul Society on February 21st 1970, with the objective of providing a Meals on Wheels Service for the older adults in the town and district. This service was readily provided three days a week to fifteen people by a band of twenty voluntary helpers who kindly offered their services. Meals were provided initially through the co-operation of St. Anne’s Hospital, the Convent of Mercy and the West Cork Hotel. Subsequently a kitchen at the CYMS Hall in Market St. was used and the operation was centered at its current base at Cara House with the construction of a purpose built kitchen there in 1985.
1973 - The enterprising founding committee soon realised the need for sheltered accommodation in Skibbereen and they embarked on the very adventurous project of providing seven flats at Convent Hill, on a site which was made available on a long lease by the Ross Diocesan Trustees. There was brisk demand for the accommodation. This has been sustained and over the years very many people have been provided with accommodation and they have enjoyed a secure retirement in one or other of our flat complexes. The initial success of the pilot project at Upper Convent Hill provided the impetus to consider further accommodation.
1979 - A further four flats were constructed at Lower Convent Hill.
1981 saw the construction of six flats at Upper Bridge Street on a site kindly donated by the late Mr. Frank Wood-Wolfe.
1985 – The old Boys’ National School at Market Street, which stood vacant, was converted to provide a further seven flats. The building was leased from the Ross Diocesan Trustees. This project also included the construction of a new Meals on Wheels kitchen to facilitate the growing demand for this service and to copper-fasten its development for the future.
1993 heralded the construction of an eight bed supported care unit, Cara House, also on the site of the old National School at Market Street adjacent to the flats. This facility was greatly appreciated and a further four bedrooms were added in 2002 thus affording a capacity for twelve persons and the service continued and was in great demand until 2013.
1998 – A dwelling house at No. 33, Mardyke St. was purchased and was totally refurbished and a further six flats were constructed on the attached garden area.
2014 - A total revamp of the interior of Cara House was undertaken by local contractors to provide a spacious modern and purpose designed facility with seating for 50 people.
2015 - Two new flats were developed in the remainder of Cara House.
2019 - Additional toilets were built to the rear of Cara House to enhance the facility.
2020 - Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic the Luncheon Club had to close. The meals on wheels service has been extended to six days a week and meals are being delivered to a much wider area.
Skibbereen Geriatric Society has enjoyed phenomenal patronage over the years and has benefited enormously from the sustained and generous support of the public who invariably subscribed to and co-operated with the many fundraising events. Indeed the wholehearted support of Bodies such as the HSE, The Department of the Environment, Cork County Council and Fás is gratefully acknowledged.
The Society currently administers its portfolio of thirty one flats, meals on wheels service & Luncheon Club from its office in Cara House. Funding general maintenance, heating costs and insurance provides a constant challenge.
The Society employs a workforce of fourteen which includes a number of Fás personnel.
The Geriatric Society received the overall Community & Neighbourhood Services Award from Muintir Skibbereen Credit Union in 2005.
The Society also received the West Cork Achievements Awards 1993 for Group Community Service (sponsored by the TSB Bank)