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CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Foyle Haven Day Centre moves to community based support to help homeless

The Derry based homeless charity forced to make 'unprecedented' transition on foot of government advice

(Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

A homeless charity has revealed it has to close the doors of its drop-in Day Centre as a result of the on-going Covid-19 crisis.

The local centre, more commonly known as the Foyle Haven Day Centre, has been serving the Foyle community since 2001 and provides support to those experiencing, or at risk of homelessness.

On average 35-40 people access the day centre on a daily basis.

Depaul has revealed it has to change the way it delivers this service as the centre has to close due to strict new measures brought in by Government to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19.

Resources have been redeployed and support will still be available to the local community, as staff mobilise to help those at risk.

Supports now provided include phone calls and video link-ins with service users, home visits where necessary, preparation and distribution of food to those in need, collection and arrangement of medicines and availability of Naloxone kits for those at risk.

Depaul’s Senior Services Manager for Northern Ireland Deirdre Canavan said: “Unfortunately we’ve had to close the doors of our Foyle day centre on foot of Government advice and in essence to protect those who access this service on a daily basis. We will still provide community support in other ways as we know this service plays a vital role in helping those most at risk.

“We want to assure those at risk that we are adapting and we will do everything we can to provide the vital supports that are required. We are living in unprecedented times however, we must do all we can to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”

Foyle Haven was established in 2001 by a group of people from the local community who wanted to provide support to local street drinkers. Demand for its service grew to such a degree that in 2011 Depaul took over operation of the service.

Foyle Haven usually operates as a day service where street drinkers can access practical assistance and support to reduce the harm caused by their use of alcohol. Practical assistance provided includes hot meals, access to shower and laundry facilities and a programme of regular social activities for adults with a dependence on alcohol.

If you require or know someone who requires support at this time you can contact Foyle Haven Day Centre on 028 7136 5259.

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