Joan Hannon, Michelle Kelly, Victor Connell, Pat Kennedy and Carol Gregg at the new service in Longford town. Photo: Michelle Ghee.
It was a red letter day on Longford town's Keon's Terrace recently as Victor Connell officially opened his new Longford Counselling Services Centre.
The opening was deferred due to Storm Emma but the service has been quietly working away in the background having taken over from the Good2Talk service, which offered a similar suite of supports from the same address.
Victor is the public face of the new service and one of its lead counsellors.
He explained that the service strives to provide an affordable and accessible counselling and psychotherapy service for those aged 16 years and upwards. Said Victor: "We work on a low cost service base where the service user pays what they can afford after the initial assessment with the maximum charge €25. We aim to provide a much needed counselling service for the surrounding region that people can afford and don't have to travel long distances for."
The service is also targeted at those who need counselling straight away but are placed on long HSE waiting lists. Explained Victor: "We charge €10 for an initial assessment which takes between 20-30 mins. At this assessment the fee for the future sessions will be discussed with the maximum charge being €25."
The centre has a team of counsellors available and their specialities include addiction, anxiety, bereavement and trauma.
"We are a not-for-profit organisation and none of the counsellors or staff make any money through this,” added Victor.
“This service was established by local people for local people."
Longford Counselling Services is situated at 2 Keon's Terrace, Longford town (directly opposite the Cathedral) and operates Monday to Friday,9.30am to 5.30pm with lunch 1-2pm. To make an appointment call (043) 334 7477.
The service will be hugely dependent on the goodwill of the public and local fundraising going forward.
There was a great boost for Victor and the team when Therese Durkin and Andy Clancy donated 20% of the takings from the final day's trading at their popular Longford town jewellery shop to the service. Said Victor: "It was a wonderful gesture and I want to say a special thank you to everybody who has supported us and especially Andy and Therese."