Cork Women’s ‘Secret Service’ Charity Launches Website

WELLSPRINGS, a Cork charity providing short and medium term residential accommodation for girls and women aged 16-23, has launched a new website and is calling for sponsorship.

Described as “Cork’s Best Secret Service”, the charity provides a safe base for girls and women who may have complex needs or who may be disconnected from their families.

The service was established in 1995 by Sister Joan O’Leary, who, while working as a nurse at Mercy Hospital, identified a gap in services for young women presenting to the hospital who lacked family support or community.

Sister Joan, who still volunteers with the association, envisioned a low-key downtown service that offered safety and security to young women, while providing support and creating lifelong bonds.

Wellsprings currently offers residential accommodation for up to six people, while providing active outreach support to 59 women, and has supported over the years 235 women, many of whom are still in contact.

Valerie McDonnell, Director, said Echo that although the service it provides has grown over the years, the charity operates with a small staff with limited resources and a very tight budget.

“The majority of the funding Wellsprings receives comes from Túsla, but we rely heavily on other small donations to make the most of what we can offer the women we work with,” said Ms. McDonnell.

“The launch of our website is the start of our engagement in a conversation with the people of Cork, and an opportunity to highlight the very important work Wellsprings has done very quietly in Cork City for 26 years.

Ms McDonnell said the charity has always offered a very low-key service and has been – and continues to be – extremely protective of the identity and privacy of young women using its services.

“We’re less well-known than other charities that are more visible, and while it has worked in our favor in terms of discretion, in terms of trying to get funds and support in the community, this lack visibility is holding us back, “she said.

Contact Wellsprings on 021 2318953 or on

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