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NIFHA | Policy | Supporting People Campaign | Politicians back Supporting…

Politicians back Supporting People Campaign

As part of the Supporting People Campaign we have been arranging for politicians to come and see the fantastic impact that this programme has on some of the most vulnerable people in society. There has been great support for our campaign as you can see in the links below.

Paul Maskey MP and Martina Anderson MEP visit Glenowen Court

Paul Maskey MP and Martina Anderson MEP came to Glenowen Court to discuss the important work that is funded by Supporting People. They met with Cameron Watt, CEO of NIFHA; John McClean, CEO of Fold and vice-chair of NIFHA’s board; and Fiona McAnespie, Director of Care Services at Fold.

Family members of the residents of Glenowen were also involved in the discussions and they were glowing in their praise of the care their relatives have received.


Mr Watt and Mr McClean spoke about the services available at Glenowen and why it is important to protect Supporting People from any future government cuts. The Supporting People funding allows the residents of Glenowen, and other schemes like it, to get the care that they need while remaining as independent as possible.

Mrs Anderson and Mr Maskey acknowledged the importance of the programme and gave their backing to the campaign. Mr Maskey had personal experience of Glenowen Court as his mother had been cared for in the home.

Information about Glenowen

Glenowen Court is a Housing with Care Scheme in Andersonstown  that has been in operation since 1994. It caters for 44 frail elderly people providing care and support 24 hours/day. The home is at the heart of the Andersonstown community with easy access to public transport, places of worship, shops and a local health centre. Glenowen recently won an EAC Housing for Older People Award for providing an excellent home, lifestyle and services to the residents who live there. It was the residents who live in Glenowen Court who nominated the scheme for this award.

Mark Durkin MP and Maeve McLaughlin MLA

Deputy Chief Executive of NIFHA, Jennie Donald, visited Derry to talk about the important work that Supporting People does with local elected representatives.

Supporting People is a vital funding for around 882 housing related support services across Northern Ireland. It enables vulnerable people to live independently and helps prevent problems that can result in hospitalisation, institutional care or homelessness.

Mark Durkan MP joined NIFHA to visit two projects in his constituency that receive funding as part of the Supporting People programme. Dunvale House is a supported living project run by Apex Housing, providing services to adults with enduring mental health difficulties.

Mr Durkan was shown around the scheme by James Crossan, Dunvale’s Housing Officer, and Ellen Hall, Housing and Care Service Manager for Apex Housing.

Mark Durkan MP with some of the residents of Dunvale House
Mark Durkan MP with some of the residents of Dunvale House

At Damien House, a project that offers crisis intervention and street outreach services to people with chronic alcohol difficulties, Mr Durkan met with Grainne Robinson, Housing Manager with Habinteg, and Eileen Best of First Housing Aid and Support Services.

Mr Durkan said: “What I’ve seen today has only reinforced my own strong belief in Supporting People as a programme. Both Damien House and Dunvale House, provide vital support to people, helping them to live their lives in the community by overcoming the challenges they face.

“Supporting People also has value in budgetary terms. The programme provides support and reduces the potential pressure on other services and on other budgets.”

Dr Donald added: “Visiting projects like Dunvale House and Damien House and seeing firsthand the essential role they fulfil in providing safe and secure accommodation alongside bespoke support really demonstrates the value of Supporting People.

“Investing in housing and support through Supporting People improves lives and life chances. It also generates savings elsewhere by placing less pressure on health, social care, community safety, policing and justice budgets.”

Dr Donald then met with Maeve McLaughlin MLA, Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee. They discussed local Supporting People projects and emerging issues where additional intervention is required.

They also talked about the need for new supported living models, especially in meeting the requirements of older people, and the Committee’s recommendations from its review of Supported Living for Older People in the context of Transforming your Care.

Information on Supporting People:

Introduced in 2003, the Supporting People programme provides a wide range of housing support services to help people sustain their accommodation and live as independently as possible in the community.

Among the 26,000 people in Northern Ireland relying on Supporting People are 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.

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