Leslie Hughes and Sue Larkin of Laochas - The Warrior Soul Project receiving a Waterford Retail Park Local Hero Award for outstanding work in the community from Dafe Orugbo of 1 Plus Events
A Waterford city mental health group which provides crucial services to young people has been named Waterford’s Local Heroes by the local Retail Park.
Laochas, whose mission is to provide mental health help and education for children and young people, topped the search for Waterford’s most deserving community workers.
Waterford Retail Park’s asset manager Sigma Retail Partners launched the Local Heroes competition as part of their 2019 Do Well by Doing Good corporate responsibility programme.
Laochas was adjudged the most deserving of the award for its Warrior Soul Project. The Warrior Soul Project allows young people to get involved in the growth of the group to help weaken the fear and stigma around mental health.
Laochas provides out-of-hours assistance for young people and their families as well as free counselling and school workshops. It promotes positive mental health awareness by involving young people with mental health issues in the development of its services.
Laochas has now received a prize of €1,000 from Waterford Retail Park towards its work.
Founder Leslie Hughes believed the only way to achieve better provision of mental health services for young people in Waterford was through a non-profit organisation founded to support under 18s. “Mental health is a growing concern. We owe young people the chance of treatment and a way of breaking the cycle,” said Leslie.
“As a society, only recently have we begun to talk openly about what is a common illness. Unfortunately, for the health services, meeting the needs of those with poor mental health happens at a snail’s pace. And the level of care and resources for children and young people experiencing mental health issues is pretty much non-existent.
“The aim of the Warrior Soul Project is to advocate for those affected by mental health issues so as to bridge a gap in service provision and create something appropriate to age and need. Our long-term aim is to grow a residential treatment clinic.”
According to Sigma’s Jenna Culligan, asset manager at Waterford, “Laochas is a most deserving winner and we are delighted to back their wonderful work.”