‘Protestant Aid’ boost of €50,000 for Kingston College Houses for Ukrainian Refugees in Mitchelstown, County Cork.

Protestant Aid, which was established 180 years to alleviate deprivation in Ireland regardless of religious, ethnic or social backgrounds, has donated €50,000 for the refurbishment of houses for Ukrainian refugees at Kingston College, Mitchelstown, County Cork.

Expressing delight, on behalf of the trustees of the Kingston College Charity Trust, the chairperson, Dr Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, spoke recently at the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Synod about the magnificent and generous work done by Protestant Aid throughout Ireland and in County Cork. Announcing the donation of €50,000 from Protestant Aid for the Kingston College housing project for Ukrainian refugees, Bishop Colton said:

I am personally thrilled today, in the presence of representatives of Protestant Aid, to announce to you all that the CEO of Protestant Aid, David Webb, wrote to me two days ago, to confirm that Protestant Aid, on top of everything else it does for people will donate €50,000 to fit and equip the houses at Kingston College for our Ukrainian families. These substantial donations make our project possible.

Geoff Scargill, Protestant Aid, with Bishop Paul Colton at the recent Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Synod when the generous donation of €50,000 was announced.

The chairman of Protestant Aid, Trevor Watkins, spoke about his own delight, and that of everyone at Protestant Aid, at having the opportunity to support this project. He said:

It is a great honour and privilege for us to be able to donate €50,000 to the Kingston College Housing Project. Congratulations to the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Dr. Paul Colton, the Trustees of Kingston College and all the volunteers and workers involved in this amazing project which will bring badly needed housing to refugees who have recently arrived from Ukraine.

Protestant Aid offers a range of supports to people of all ages and backgrounds and our response to the thousands of Ukrainian refugees arriving to our shores following the shocking invasion of their country has already formed a large part of our work in 2022.

In addition to our support for the Kingston College project we have already acted quickly to play our part in helping Ukrainian schoolchildren with purchasing books, uniforms and more. The response to date has been overwhelming and it is clear that the help offered is both timely and badly needed.

Protestant Aid believes in the fundamental dignity of all human beings and especially the most vulnerable members of our society.

The Kingston College Trust was founded in 1761 and in the following years houses and a chapel were built with the first residents arriving in 1780. Originally the houses were intended as retirement homes for workers who had worked on the local estate. Since then – 242 years – these 30 houses have been offered to people in this part of the world who need a house arising from their particular circumstances. Most come from Cork and the surrounding counties, and some have sought refuge from abroad.

Before the pandemic, conversations had begun with a variety of bodies – including the local authority and possible partner organisations and charities – to plan for the future of the houses, including the eight that had recently become vacant and in urgent need of refurbishment. In response to the Government’s call for accommodation for Ukrainian refugees, the trustees decided that a long period of continuing consultation about the future wasn’t tenable, and so it was decided to respond to the Government’s appeal.

‘Quite simply the project took off’ said Bishop Colton. ‘I floated the idea in a “test the waters” email in mid-March to about 200 people, and instead of talk, there was action; cheques, big and small, came in, as well as offers of hands on help. Then the One Foundation came on board, followed by RTE DIYSOS, and now Protestant Aid. The goodness and generosity of people has been amazing. And these refurbishment works will, we hope, also set these houses up for another 100 years of use for the work of this charity.’

The north/central section of Kingston College, Mitchelstown, County Cork (pic. Donagh Glavin)
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