13 lives saved by Foyle Haven Day Centre

editorial image

Homeless charity Depaul have said that last year a total of 13 lives were saved in their Foyle Haven Day Centre through the administration of life-saving antidote Naloxone by staff.

The antidote is used to reverse the effects of a drug overdose.

In 2018, the Day Centre helped almost 200 hundred adults.

The revelation comes as the homeless charity has announced that its Foyle Haven Day Centre has secured funding to ensure its operation for another year.

Funding has been secured through the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

In addition, funding is provided by the Public Health agency to ensure vital health related initiatives continue to be made available to those accessing the Day Centre.

In recent years the centre has been under the threat of closure due to a lack of stable funding and has had to cut its opening hours as a result.

Depaul has also witnessed a shift in the demographic of people accessing the service with a large percentage of service users being under the age of 30 and more females accessing support through the day centre.

There has also been an increase in the number of those presenting with poly-substance use and severe mental health issues.

Depaul interim CEO David Carroll said: “It is clear from the number of lives saved within our Foyle Haven service in 2018 that the drug problem within Derry and surrounding areas continues to persist.

“It is incredibly disheartening to have to constantly fight for funding for such a vital service within the Derry area. We are happy that funding has been provided to ensure that the service can run for another year.

“The number of lives saved and the number of people helped is evidence that this type of service is still very much needed. It should not be the case that we are struggling from year to year.

“We continue to advocate for greater joined up thinking when it comes to tackling the growing issues around homelessness and drug consumption. We will continue to advocate for vital services that help those most vulnerable in our society.” Foyle Haven was established in 2001 by a group of committed 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 2010 it needed to amalgamate with a national charity to ensure sustainability into the future.

In 2011, Foyle Haven amalgamated with Depaul.

Foyle Haven 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.