There was good news for the Friends of St. Ita’s this week when their chairman, Fergus Scanlan, announced that the long awaited 22-bed rehab project costing almost €2 million is finally up and running with the signing of a contract awarded to O’Brien Builders, Miltown Malbay.

The project is a state-of-the-art 22-bed unit which will comprise sixteen single rooms and three double rooms, and the overall rehab facility will also include treatment and examination rooms, con-sultation rooms and an upgraded therapy department and much more.

“We are delighted to point out that this is a capital only project with no revenue implications which means there are no extra staffing requirements. According to management and staff, these greatly enhanced and expanded rehab facilities will be crucially important in the delivery of the service needs of patients,” Mr. Scanlan stated. “This project would not have happened without the ass-istance of J.P. McManus, from whose 2010 Golf Pro-Am an award of €750,000 towards the project was secured. It was this funding that firmly put the project on track and so we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to JP, not only for his support on this occasion but also for a similarly very generous award of €750,000 from his 2005 Pro-Am towards our Hospice project at that time.

“We continue to acknow-ledge that, but for the huge support and generosity which we continue to enjoy from the very many clubs, groups, organisations and individuals in the community, our fundraising would not be where it is today with a total in excess of €3.36 million raised since our formation over 10½ years ago in March 2003.” “That funding has enabled the Friends of St. Ita’s to contribute €1.5 million towards the Palliative Unit, €100,000 to the purchase of two patient mini buses; €200,000 towards a new day room; €36,000 toward the provision of an enclosed garden for the Palliative Care Unit; as well as funding towards essential services and equipment at the hospital and recently funding to the tune of €1.37 million towards the current rehab project. The Palliative Care Service Unit which opened in 2009 on a day-care basis continues to operate in that capacity because of the ongoing embargo of recruitment in the public service which is preventing the provision of a full in-patient service as intended when the unit was built. The recruitment embargo has likewise prevented the opening of the Alzheimer Unit which was built at the same time but to which the Friends had no funding input.”