Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has visited Londonderry’s new £2million refuge for women and children suffering from domestic abuse.
The new housing development at Ashleywood Mews has been provided by Apex Housing Association with part funding from the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department for Social Development. The facility is managed on a day to day basis by Foyle Women’s Aid. The new accommodation replaces previous communal living accommodation on the site.
Visiting the new facilities, Minister McCausland said: “I am delighted to be here today to visit this new facility. This is a quality scheme which my department was pleased to support and everyone involved in the planning and construction can be rightly proud of what has been achieved.
“These new homes will provide welcome respite in a safe and secure environment for some of our most vulnerable citizens. They will assist in the provision of a much improved service from what went before.”
A total of twelve new homes have been created from a sympathetic refurbishment of the Grade B listed stable block behind the Women’s Aid Resource Centre in Ashleywood House. Three new bungalows have also been built alongside. The one, two and three bedroom self contained houses and apartments provide purpose built accommodation for families needing emergency shelter.
The Minister continued: “Foyle Women’s Aid is to be congratulated for taking the initiative to upgrade its services in the area. These new homes, alongside the longstanding specialist programmes offered by Ashleywood House, have created a new environment which offers the very best support at a time of greatest need.”
Martin Doherty, Chairman of Apex Housing said: “Apex is very pleased to have been involved in this very significant scheme which has many important aspects to it. It not only delivers much needed, self contained accommodation to vulnerable families in a secure setting next to Foyle Women’s Aid resource centre at Ashleywood House but it has enabled the restoration and conversion of the dilapidated stable block in the rear courtyard to residential use.
“This has ensured the future of this listed property while meeting an important social need. The partnership working between Apex, Foyle Women’s Aid and the contractor QMAC was recognised at the recent Construction Employers Federation awards where the project won the Achieving Excellence Partnering Award.”