Mission hostel for homeless reopens after major refurbishment

Communities Minister Paul Givan (centre) formally re-opens the hostel, included, from left, are Gerry Kelly, CEO, Apex Housing, Alderman Hilary McClintock, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council,  Rev Peter Murray, chair, and Liam Milligan, Mission director,  North West Methodist Mission. INLS 50-701-CON
Communities Minister Paul Givan (centre) formally re-opens the hostel, included, from left, are Gerry Kelly, CEO, Apex Housing, Alderman Hilary McClintock, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Rev Peter Murray, chair, and Liam Milligan, Mission director, North West Methodist Mission. INLS 50-701-CON

The North West Methodist Mission Hostel for the homeless in Londonderry has officially re-opened after major refurbishment.

The Crawford Square premises provide temporary accommodation for 47 men. Their six move-on flats are designed to offer clients the support needed to develop independent living skills and enable them to secure long term tenancies within the local community.

Communities Minister Paul Givan MLA chats to service user Michael Benson outside his newly refurbished flat at North West Methodist Mission Hostel.  Photos: Lorcan Doherty Photography. INLS 50-701-CON

Communities Minister Paul Givan MLA chats to service user Michael Benson outside his newly refurbished flat at North West Methodist Mission Hostel. Photos: Lorcan Doherty Photography. INLS 50-701-CON

The scheme included new fitted kitchens, new furniture and the installation of mains gas.

The refurbishment of the move-on flats was funded by Apex Housing Association – the landlord of the hostel.

Speaking at the reopening today (Wednesday), at the start of Homelessness Awareness Week, Communities Minister Paul Givan said: “It is a great pleasure to be in the city today to conduct the official opening of these impressive flats, marking another chapter in the Mission’s dedicated work providing support to those experiencing homelessness.

“I have seen at first hand the homely and friendly atmosphere provided by Reverend (Peter) Murray and his team in which the dignity and respect of the individual is paramount. I also applaud Apex for taking this refurbishment work forward.”

Rev Murray, chairman of North West Methodist Mission, performed the dedication and expressed his thanks to everyone involved.

He said: “I am delighted to dedicate our newly refurbished training and move on accommodation which plays a vital part in our resettlement programme. We are indebted to our partner Apex Housing Association and the contractors who carried out the work.

“I have no doubt the accommodation alongside the expertise, care and compassion of our staff will continue to help the clients we serve secure long-term accommodation.”

The hostel receives over £600,000 through the Supporting People Programme to provide housing related support to 41 men in the hostel and six on-site independent training/move on flats.

Gerry Kelly, chief executive of Apex Housing Association, said: “The ongoing partnership working between North West Methodist Mission and Apex at the Crawford Square hostel is an excellent example of two charitable organisations coming together to provide a safe and supportive environment for the more vulnerable members of society. We are very appreciative of the committed and caring service provided by the Mission staff towards those living in the scheme.”

NWMM has been providing services to homeless men in the city for 80 years and prides itself on helping service users help themselves.

Liam Milligan, Mission director, added: “It is timely that at the beginning of Homelessness Awareness Week we are able to demonstrate the partnership working and services that exist in our city to assist our most vulnerable citizens. The commitment and dedication of the management team and all our staff in providing a professional and compassionate approach to supporting our clients is to be commended.”