Wellsprings is a voluntary organisation which provides care and aftercare services for young women. It was established in 1995 by the Sisters of Mercy, in conjunction with the former Southern Health Board. The aim is to provide a service to bridge the gap between the time when a young woman leaves care or when she is out of home and vulnerable, and to assist in preparing her for adulthood and independent living.
While a voluntary organisation, Wellsprings is now funded predominantly by the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA), and also receives funding support from Cork City Council, Health Service Executive and Cork Educational Training Board. We welcome donations from the wider community also. The purpose built Residential service and the specially adapted building for the Outreach service are provided by the Sisters of Mercy, who also give annual funding support to the service.
The service includes a Residential and Outreach component. The Residential service is based in Cork city and offers placements to young women over 16 who have been in care or out of home up to the age of 23. Wellsprings take referrals from the Child and Family Agency Southern Region, with National referrals also being considered. Wellsprings also takes referrals from other agencies working with young women in the community. Young women 18 years and over may refer themselves to the Residential service. The Outreach service is situated on an adjacent street and is offered to all those who have moved on from the Residential service, and will also accept direct referrals.
The key focus for Wellsprings’ services are:
- Provision of a care and aftercare service to support young women who are approaching the time of leaving care or who have left care;
- Preparing young women for adulthood and independent living, many of whom face significant challenges in their lives including dealing with childhood trauma, substance abuse, some of whom have special needs.
- Provision of support to young women in the community who have either been past residents of the Wellsprings Residential service or who have been referred directly to the Outreach service.
- Homelessness prevention and tenancy sustainment