- Northern Ireland
- Safe and Well
- Release date:
- 25 6 2009
An innovative project to help tackle the isolation, exclusion and fear of older, vulnerable and disabled people is one of a range of schemes across Northern Ireland sharing in nearly £17 million today from the Big Lottery Fund.
Grants totalling over £16.6 million have been awarded to 18 projects across Northern Ireland through the Big Lottery Fund’s Safe And Well programme to help people of all ages work together to promote wellbeing and tackle health and safety issues.
Amongst today’s grants is £956,322 awarded to the Bridge Community Association to help improve the quality of life for older and vulnerable in south and east Belfast by getting them more involved in community life, reducing their fear of crime and anti-social behaviour and improving their health and well-being.
Other projects benefiting from the major Lottery windfall include two initiatives tackling issues in relation to alcohol addiction and binge drinking in Londonderry.
Working with health and community partners, Bridge Community Association’s RECALL project will expand the organisation’s current programmes in Inner East Belfast, including the Good Morning telephone advice service, listening and befriending scheme and home safety checks, and make them available to people throughout south and east Belfast.
Project Coordinator Brian Dawson said: “Older and more vulnerable residents suffer from fear of crime and anti-social behaviour. Such fear has made people fearful in their own homes, afraid to venture out, and afraid of passing young people in public places.
“Telephone carers from the project will make daily morning calls to people’s homes to check on their well-being and take the time for a social chat. When repeated calls go unanswered the telephone carer will contact local services such as home help, the police or their nominated contacts to try to locate the person and check their safety.
“The carers will also visit homes, carry out safety checks, and offer people security locks and personal attack alarms and they will encourage people to get involved in community groups such as lunch clubs and healthy eating courses.”
He continued: “This project will help people feel safer in their homes, reduce their vulnerability, improve their health and well-being and give peace of mind to their families, neighbours and friends.”
Peggy Trimble, 75, lives alone in her home on the Ravenhill Road, and first got involved with the project when she took a bad turn. “I have high blood pressure and oesteo-arthritis and I was in the bathroom one evening and lost control of my body from my shoulders to my toes,” said Peggy. “I began to panic and couldn’t walk to the bedroom so I crawled to my bed and passed out – soon after I was referred to the project.”
“When you get on in years and you live on your own every noise you hear you think something is going on. You see reports on the TV about older people getting attacked in their homes and it can make you frightened. If I need them they come immediately. It gives me peace of mind if I’m having trouble or I’m worried about anything they are on the other end of the phone to offer support and advice.”
The Foyle Haven Centre will use the grant of £909,974 to develop the Safe From Harm project which will extend existing opening hours to seven days a week and provide vital support to Derry's street drinkers.
The Lottery cash will be used to provide a safe place for street drinkers to be and to avail of food, laundry and shower facilities. It will also deliver programmes in partnership with the Men's Action Network tackling issues such as healthy eating and anger management.
Project Manager Darren McPartland said the project would help reduce high levels of assaults and crime against street drinkers in the city. "Recent figures from lead partner the PSNI have revealed that in one year there had been 158 reported incidents of violent crime in the John Street area and 155 of these were crimes against street drinkers,” said Darren.
"So this project will make a major difference in improving the safety and health of our clients. It will also go towards reducing crime in the John Street area as well as across the city.”
James McCallion is a member of staff with Foyle Haven Centre. The 42-year-old father of five was a street drinker for 14 years from the age of 23. He has been in recovery for eight years and now devotes his time to helping the men and women that he used to drink with.
"No-one wants to become a street drinker - alcohol addiction affects us all in different ways. My turning point was making a deal with God that if the drink didn't kill me I would start my recovery and so far so good,” he said.
"I haven't had a drink in eight years and started volunteering with Foyle Haven seven years ago. Foyle Haven saved my life and I believe that this project will save the lives of many others."
The Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum has also been awarded a grant of £1,000,000 to develop the Neighbourhood Alcohol Safety Partnership (NASP) project. The partnership, which includes a wide range of organisations including local bar and off license owners, will use the grant to promote the safe sale and consumption of alcohol.
The partnership will work with a wide range of organisations including community groups and health agencies to tackle problems related to alcohol consumption and will run a series of preventative programmes to promote responsible drinking.
Manager Tony Doherty said: “Prolonged drinking and binge drinking have become more common than ever in the city. Alcohol causes major damage to the social fabric of the city, has a close link to domestic violence and suicide and is generally considered to be a situation that is out of control.
“We hope to develop education and training programmes highlighting the physical, mental, domestic and community damage caused by alcohol abuse. Alcohol accompanies us from the cradle to the grave and its increasing use is a matter of serious concern for those working in public health. The average age of young boys and girls drinking is now 11-12 years.
“This partnership recognises that no single organisation, agency or group has the expertise or resources to address the culture of alcohol and surrounding alcohol related harm. It also recognises that together the partners can make a significant difference in raising awareness of alcohol related harm within our area.”
Breidge Gadd, the Big Lottery Fund’s Northern Ireland Chair said: “The 18 grants awarded today from the Safe and Well programme mark a major investment by the Big Lottery Fund into creating partnerships to run innovative projects to boost the health and well-being of Northern Ireland’s most disadvantaged communities.
“In this time of economic recession it is vital that communities most in need are supported and I am delighted that the projects awarded funding today will develop activities that will support healthier and safer communities.”
See the list of all Safe and Well grants given out today (.xls 32KB).
Andrew Kennedy Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 028 90 551 426
Out of Hours Contact: 07788 640 791
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Notes to Editors
- The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
- BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006. Since the National
- Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £22 billion has now been raised and more than 317,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.