Organisation:Gort Cancer Support Group CLGCategory:Small OrganisationsCharity Reg no. :CHY 193791. Tell us about the issue(s) this organisation is tackling and why it's important
2. How does your organisation go about tackling these issues?
- Why was the organisation set up? What is it trying to change or do? Why is it important to do this? Gort Cancer Support was established in 2007 to provide confidential community-based support and practical assistance to people affected by a cancer diagnosis in the South Galway/North Clare areas. We adopt a holistic approach by providing many services such as adult and adolescent counselling, children’s counselling, lymph drainage therapy, complementary therapies and a transport service. Many people are often too unwell to be able to drive themselves to their radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or oncology appointments. They may live in rural areas with no access to public transport and have no family members available to drive them to the hospital. This leads to added worry and stress for people already traumatised by their cancer diagnosis.
3. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference.
- Explain your organisation's approach to solving the issues you identified in your previous answer. If it has had to adapt its activities in response to COVID-19, how did it do this? Our organization realised very soon after being set up of the impact that the lack of a transport service was having on the people who were attending our support centre. We then looked for volunteer drivers who were willing to collect people and bring them to their oncology appointments in Galway University Hospital. We now have a panel of wonderful drivers who we call on when we get a request for our driving service. Our volunteer drivers collect people from their homes, bring them to the hospital, collect them after their treatment and bring them home again afterwards. We are delighted to say that we were able to safely facilitate every drive requested we received during the covid-19 pandemic in line with NCCP guidelines.
4. What has the overall impact of this work been and how do you measure it?
- This is your chance to talk about impact in qualitative terms. Provide a case study to illustrate the impact of the organisation’s work. We will accept anonymous case studies if you need to protect the identity of a service user or individuals under 18 years of age. You can include a quote or endorsement if you wish.We had a request from a gentleman who lives on his own in a very rural area. He does not drive himself and prior to his cancer diagnosis he was able to cycle the five miles to Gort and get a bus to Galway whenever he needed to go there. Since his illness he is no longer able to cycle. He required thirty-nine rounds of radiotherapy which meant he needed to get to Galway University Hospital every weekday for nearly eight weeks. Without the assistance of our volunteer drivers, he would have been unable to travel to and from Galway for his treatment. It was such a relief for him to not have to worry about making his own travel arrangements. The following is a testimonial from this gentleman:- “I can’t speak highly enough of this driving service and the support I get from everyone in the centre. It means so much to me and that is the truth. I mean that.”
5. What makes your organisation special?
- How would you describe the overall impact of your organisation’s work? What measures do you use to know if you have been successful at achieving your goals? How do you know what to improve or change in your work? Please include as much evidence as possible to demonstrate your impact. We annually send out feedback forms to our clients. One of the questions on it asks: What other service or activity would they like to be made available in our support centre? Based on the feedback we get we know what to improve or change in our work. Increasing awareness of our centre is also increasing the number of people attending Hollyblue House. The overall impact of Gort Cancer Support’s work can be measured by the following testimonials: • “I am so grateful that Gort Cancer Support opened it’s doors to me. The centre and staff and supports helped make a tough time easier. The generosity and kindness shown to me will forever be remembered. Thank You” • “It is a pleasure to attend meetings to have a chat or a laugh a cup of tea or a coffee. I never thought that getting cancer would bring me so many blessings and new friends.” • “The availability of these services in my area are of great assistance to me and I am able to meet with people who have similar experiences to my own.” • “My cancer is in remission but I am greatly reassured to have this support centre nearby.” • “Location is perfect – accessible but private, support is superb.” • “Staff and volunteers are kind, welcoming, inviting, and make you feel very relaxed. I was fearful of going at first but once I met the people there, I felt very at ease and always felt better after a visit to the centre.” • “Overall, the centre is welcoming warm friendly staff and a wide range of activities – something for every
6. How can the public support your work?
- What is the organisation’s unique selling-point? What makes the organisation different from others working in the same field/area?We are a volunteer led organisation with no paid staff. We have been going from strength to strength since our foundation. We were able to purchase our permanent home in 2012. Over the years the demands on our services have continued to increase which resulted in us rapidly running out of space. In 2019 we purchased the adjoining building, with the aid of a Clann Credo Loan. The addition of this extra space has enabled us to have a designated children’s counselling room, a peer support room, Counselling rooms and a sensory/therapy garden. Our USP is our volunteer driving service. While other centres may offer a minibus service from their centre, our service is home to hospital and home again, removing the hassle for clients who are already feeling traumatised and vulnerable.
7. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
- Do you need volunteers? Do you fundraise? Can the public share your story? Give them a call to action.As we are a volunteer led organisation, we are always looking for people to help. Volunteers are people who want to make a difference, they come from all walks of life and age groups. If you would like to share your skills and experience in Hollyblue House we would love to speak to you. Examples of the volunteer roles available in Hollyblue House are: • Fundraising • Meet & Greet • Administration • Drivers • Pop-Up Shop • Activities facilitators • Gardening As we receive no state funding, we always need people to fundraise on our behalf in order that we can continue to provide all the support services and activities required by people affected by cancer. Our main aim at present is to clear the mortgage that we secured to purchase the adjoining property.
- For example, do you publish your annual accounts online? Are you compliant with the Charities Regulator's Charities Governance Code? Do you use the Charities Regulator’s Fundraising Principles?We are committed to the highest standards of governance. Donors entrust their money to us, and we have the responsibility to ensure we are accountable for all we do and are transparent in how we do it. Our Board of Trustees are committed to obtaining the highest standards of governance and, accordingly, transparency, accountability and cost effectiveness are constant priorities of the Board, the management committee, the finance team and the governance team. This ensures we are honest and ethical in all our work and worthy of the ongoing trust and support of our volunteers and donors. Our annual audited accounts are published on our website. We comply with the Charity Regulator Governance Code and use the Charity Regulators Guiding Principles for Fundraising.