Ireland’s first Daffodil Bench was unveiled by the Irish Cancer Society today.
Located at Red Island in Skerries, the brightly coloured bench is a symbol of hope and support for anyone facing a cancer diagnosis.
The Irish Cancer Society is aiming for 50 Daffodil Benches to be in place by the end of 2023.
Daffodil Benches will be located in well-known spots around the country and they have a plaque with a QR code linking to Irish Cancer Society supports, services and information.
It is hoped that these benches will be a place for reflection and support for those who have been affected by cancer.
In 2021, an estimated 44,000 people received a cancer diagnosis in Ireland.
The project is a partnership between the Irish Cancer Society, Irish Men’s Sheds Association and City and County Councils across the country.
Councils will donate an existing bench that local Men’s Sheds will then prepare, paint and install the QR code plaque on. This code will also link to the Irish Men’s Sheds Association’s website, as well as Irish Cancer Society information.
Alongside the Daffodil Bench in Skerries, bench locations are also confirmed in Kerry, Galway and Cork, with plans to roll out more in other local electoral areas over the coming year.
Speaking at the unveiling, Irish Cancer Society Director of Advocacy Rachel Morrogh said, “We are delighted to launch Daffodil Benches in partnership with the Irish Men’s Sheds Association and local authorities across the country.
“Benches are a place of rest but also of contemplation. Many of us have found ourselves on a bench at one point or other, thinking things through or trying to set things straight in our heads. As well as a place where one can reflect or share a cancer journey, Daffodil Benches are also points of access to Irish Cancer Society supports and information.
“Most importantly, they are visible reminders in parks and greenways of our villages, towns and cities that while cancer is all around us in our communities, support, advice and help are also there.”
Rebecca McLaughlin, Health and Wellbeing Manager, Irish Men’s Sheds Association said, “The Irish Men’s Sheds Association are delighted to be able to join forces with The Irish Cancer Society on such a significant national partnership.
“We believe the Daffodil Benches project is the perfect match for our two organisations. Everyone has had cancer touch their lives in some way – individually, with family, friends or as part of their community. The Irish Men’s Sheds network is coming out of a particularly challenging two years post-Covid and is working hard to encourage members back into Sheds to re-connect with each other and with communities. Participating in the Daffodil Benches initiative will help reinforce and remind us of our core ethos and values.”
Vincent McCarthy, Skerries Men’s Shed, added, “This is a wonderful idea, not just for the Men’s Sheds but also the communities and localities they support all over Ireland. Being diagnosed with cancer is an isolating feeling of ‘why me?’
“Having the benches is an indication that the community cares and that really encompasses the true vision of Men’s Sheds: We are aware. We care. We share.”
Anyone who has concerns about cancer or needs information or emotional support is encouraged to call the Irish Cancer Society’s Support Line on 1800 200 700 or email SupportLine@IrishCancer.ie.