A drop-in centre in the heart of the city for people who are affected by suicide or want a listening ear will open over the coming months.
Teach Tom, off Johns Green is run by the Thomas Hayes Trust. Angela Hayes, who founded the charity which provides support for those affected by suicide explained how she was both shocked and delighted that Kilkenny County Council have donated a premises to the charity for a nominal fee.
“It is a great honour that the council has entrusted this premises to us. For the Mayor and the council to have this belief in me and the charity it really something special,” she said.
Mayor Andrew McGuinness explained that the acquisition of the house and development of the premises into a drop in centre was one of his primary aims during his term as Mayor.
“I had the idea to try and get the council to give the charity a rundown house which can be used as a centre for people who are affected by suicide. Over the next few weeks I will be launching a Mayoral campaign to encourage the business community and the people of Kilkenny to get behind this project.
“Teach Tom is a place where people will be able to go and talk through their problems and access services. The message we want to get out there is that it is okay not to feel okay. The next step is to raise money so that the house can be renovated - but it is not just about raising money, it is about getting the wider community involved and giving them a sense of pride in the place. There are a huge amount of people affected by mental health and this is a place where people can go and be listened to and get advice, It is a community approach which will help break the taboo that still surrounds mental health and offer people the appropriate services through the Thomas Hayes Trust which in turn will help to save lives,” he added.
The Trust was founded last year after Angela Hayes spoke publicly about how her husband and son died by suicide. Her story touched the hearts of thousands and she decided along with her family to set up the charity to support people affected by suicide and those contemplating suicide.
“I never expected the charity to grow like this - there is a massive demand for our services. It is wonderful that we have now secured a premises where people can come and seek help and advice and relax in a homely setting that is safe and confidental. It is a place where people can go and open up and seek the help that they need for free.
“I want to publicly thank the Mayor for all his hard work which has paid off. As a charity it is great that we do not have to pay rent and can use the monies raised towards services and running costs. Our aim is to get as many preventative supports in place as we can that people can access locally,” she said.
Teach Tom will be run in conjuction with local agencies and services including Lifeline, the Samaritans, Grow, the HSE, Console and the Kilkenny Bereavement Society.
The Mayor’s Campaign for Teach Tom will be launched in next week’s Kilkenny People with details on how people can get involved in the renovation and refurbishment of the premises.