Lady Sylvia Hermon MP gave her backing to the Supporting People Campaign on a visit to Beacon Wellbeing’s Enterprise Court in Bangor. She was there to see the impact of supported housing services in her constituency.
Enterprise Court provides round the clock support for 40 residents with long-term mental health conditions. It is part of the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health (Niamh) and is run in partnership with OakleeTrinity housing association.
Lady Hermon was shown around the scheme by Tracey Ritchie, Enterprise Court Service Manager, Grainne McGuinness, OakleeTrinity Senior Housing Officer and Cameron Watt, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations.
Mr Watt and Lady Hermon discussed the importance of protecting the Supporting People fund from any future spending cuts while visiting residents who benefit from the services it provides.
The Supporting People programme delivers a wide range of support services to help the most vulnerable people in society live as independently as possible. Over 26,000 people in Northern Ireland rely on the fund, including the frail elderly, people with disabilities and homeless people.
Research commissioned by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) estimates that every £1 spent on the £65m Supporting People programme saves the public purse £1.90.
Lady Hermon said: “I have really enjoyed my visit and was delighted to have the opportunity to meet residents and staff of Beacon Wellbeing.
“The staff do an excellent job here, and the residents are obviously very happy and appreciative of the help they receive to live as independently as their individual circumstances allow.
“I came away with the happiest of memories of an afternoon well spent at Beacon Wellbeing”
Cameron Watt said:“Supporting People has been an immense success, enabling thousands of people to sustain their accommodation and live with as much independence as possible through housing support services.
“Visiting projects like Enterprise Court and seeing firsthand the essential role they fill in supporting those in society who need it most really demonstrates the value of Supporting People.”
Speaking at the visit, Tracey Ritchie from Beacon Wellbeing said: “We are delighted to welcome Lady Hermon and our other guests to Enterprise Court today. It has been a real boost for both the staff and residents to open our doors and showcase what Beacon Wellbeing does here in Bangor.
“Most of our residents receive assistance from Supporting People and that financial support is vital to help fund the high quality intensive support services that they both need and deserve. Our residents are very proud of their homes and this visit has given them the opportunity to talk about what it means to them to live as part of a local community.”