THE Cura Service in Limerick opened in 1977 at a time when pregnancy outside of marriage was experienced by many women as a time of serious crisis. The word Cura is Latin for ‘Care’ and the slogan ‘Cura Cares’ still holds true, according to Limerick co-ordinator of the service, Anne McCarthy.
The centre in Limerick, one of 16 nationwide, is based at Limerick Social Service Centre on Henry Street. Volunteers who have undertaken special training in crisis pregnancy counselling offer a wide range of supportive services to those for whom the experience of pregnancy is crisis.
Cura offers pregnancy counselling for women, fathers, parents of young people, grandparents and young couples.
“We provide free pregnancy testing,” Anne continues. “We also offer information on entitlements, access to supportive accommodation during pregnancy and after the birth of a boy. A free post-abortion counselling service is also available and on request, we offer information on fostering and adoption services through the Health Services Executive”.
She makes the point that attitudes in recent years have changed towards pregnancy, “yet many challenges remain to be addressed. Many women may find themselves alone and unsupported with a pregnancy. Some may conceal the pregnancy for several months and during this time will not have availed of relevant medical treatment and other supports. Some men may come to Cura when they feel excluded, fearful and alone”.
Cura also makes the time to visit second level schools through its Schools Awareness Programme, and will offer to meet the parents or parent of a young person affected by unexpected pregnancy. The meeting will be supportive and private, confidentiality respected at all times.
The Social Service Centre also offers a crèche, Teen Parenting Programme and a Community Mothers Programme and significantly, Pre-Natal Accommodation to mothers. There are apartments available for new mothers also.
Contact Anne McCarthy at The Cura Centre, SSC, Henry Street, tel. 061-318207 and the national helpline is 1850 622626.