The sod was turned this evening on a €1m voluntary project in Tipperary Town designed to provide invaluable assistance to people diagnosed with cancer and their families for generations to come.
It was a day of celebration in Tipperary Town as the first step towards the provision of a “shining light” cancer support centre was taken.
The sod was turned on the Circle of Friends centre and construction is expected to start in the next two weeks at the Knockanrawley site.It is hoped that the centre will open to the public in early 2018.
“This is a very exciting day for everybody involved.All our dreams are coming to fruition.For generations to come people will have access to vital cancer support services and that means all the work that has gone into the project has been worth it,” said Jennifer Jones Hickey who founded Circle of Friends.
Jennifer pictured above with her father Pat turning the sod, established Circle of Friends in 2013 after realising the need for such a support service following her own diagnosis.The centre will serve West Tipperary,East Limerick, and North Cork .
It was a special day for the Jones family as Jennifer’s father Pat is the chairman of the voluntary organisation and he has spearheaded the campaign to establish a permanent centre for the group.
“To have come so far so quickly is a testament to all of the hard work put in by so many “ said Pat Jones.
Service user and Circle of Friends board member Tom O Donoghue said cancer was a frightening problem and he encouraged people and their families dealing with cancer to avail of the services.
”I would encourage people to use the service.When you are fragile,lonely and frightened it is good to talk and get support” said Tom.
The new centre will be located on a 0.99 acre site at Knockanrawley which was donated byt Cashel/Tipperary Municipal Council in 2015.
Circle of Friends has already raised €500,000 for the new centre.Phase one of the build will bring the project to shell and core stage and a further €200,000 is required to open services to the public on the ground floor and phase three of the project will see services expand to upper floor level.
The group currently operate out of rented facilities at Station House but the demand for the services provided means Circle of Friends has outgrown that location.
Circle of Friends is the only cancer support group operating in a hinterland of more than 60,000 people .
In the last week the group has launched a new fundraising “Buy a Brick “ campaign to help them achieve their goals and the organisers are hopeful that the incredible generosity shown by the public towards their appeals will continue.