A rescue package was organised last year after Big Lottery funding ended, but fears have been expressed over the Haven’s long-term future.
Haven workers were put on protective notice and informed funding was only guaranteed through to March 31st creating tremendous anxiety for those who depend on its services, for their families and for its dedicated workforce.
Without doubt, the Haven is one of the organisations keeping the fabric of our society together providing sanctuary for many across the city who depend on the services it provides.In the six months since the 2016 rescue package, there have been around 4,000 visits, and around 100 people using the facility.
Foyle Haven workers and volunteers distributed more than 3,500 meals. Foyle Haven provides advice and help to service users about benefits and housing. Additionally, the centre offers classes in maths, English, IT and help with personal hygiene and harm reduction.
In response, UNISON Community and Voluntary branch launched a campaign to secure long-term core funding for the Haven. UNISON called on the Derry City and Strabane District Council to support the campaign and organised a support rally.
Backing the campaign Eamonn McCann argues:
‘There is a very evident failure of administration at Stormont regarding funding right across the community sector. Workers are systematically undervalued and those relying on support are falling between the cracks whilst CEO pay rises and corporations dictate to establishment parties. We do not accept the mantra ‘there is no money’ that has come relentlessly from Executive parties when hundreds of millions are wasted on RHI and other rackets.
We call on people to mobilise in defence of vital services whenever they are threatened. This is the key way we can defend workers rights, the needs of service users and create a society fit for all of us to thrive in’.