20/02/2006

North Belfast counselling service receives £145,000 grant

The Department of Social Development's Belfast Regeneration Office has today awarded a grant of £145,000 to a community based counselling service for North Belfast.

The Neighbourhood Renewal funding will enable New Life Counselling Services to continue to deliver vital support to young people and adults from the Crumlin and Ardoyne areas suffering from depression, trauma, stress, anger, bereavement, bullying and relationship difficulties.

Social Development Minister David Hanson, today announced the funding. He said: "The New Life Counselling Service provides crucial support to those living in the most disadvantaged areas of North Belfast. It is in a unique position in that it is based within the community and can respond with immediacy and professionalism to problems as they arise. These neighbourhoods face a daunting range of problems, which have a disproportionate effect on the people who live there. The New Life Counselling Service has received international recognition for its commitment to improving people's lives by enabling them to achieve more, feel better and live longer."

The Minister added that the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy under which this project has been supported is aimed at supporting improvements in the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland and that the money awarded by the DRD will be used to benefit the whole community.

Mr Hanson continued: This includes outreach programmes tackling areas such as health awareness and emotional wellbeing within local schools and programmes to develop parenting skills and personal skills. The funding will also enable the group to organise health education awareness initiatives and direct people to advice and treatment services for the misuse of non-prescribed drugs. It will also provide access to improved health facilities and treatment services and support victims of crime."

The organisation receives referrals from a range of sources including parents, schools, youth clubs, social services, clergy, and doctors, and over recent years the number of referrals has risen by almost 50% with some clients remaining on waiting lists for assistance.

(EF)


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