HURT drop-in centre to close after 15 years

Sadie O'Reilly with Dessie Kyle  of HURT at a fundraising event at Ebrington Square (File pic)
Sadie O'Reilly with Dessie Kyle of HURT at a fundraising event at Ebrington Square (File pic)

The HURT Drop-In Centre will close its doors at the start of next month due to a lack of funding.

The closure of Clarendon Street facility, which has helped treat hundreds of local people affected by drug and alcohol issues over the past 15 years, was announced by founder Sadie O’Reilly last night.

“We have no option except to close,” she insisted.

“We have lost funding and we have tried everything, and now all of our hard work is coming to an end.

“I have been saying that we have been in trouble for over a year, but we just can’t do it anymore.”

Sadie set up HURT after the death of her son, Tony, following a drug overdose.

“I wanted to help people who were struggling with their addiction; parents who were at a loss as to where to go for support, so the average person in the street could call in for a friendly bit of advice,” she maintained.

“I never thought it would have grown to where it did with 12 trained professional staff supported by hundreds of volunteers in two centres working five days a week to provide essential services for the hundreds of people who called in through our doors.

“Those long hard nights were worth it when you knew you had helped to save a life or turn it around.”

With the closure of the Clarendon Street Drop-In Centre, the nearest available similar service will be in Omagh or Belfast.

“If someone is in trouble and needs somewhere to go, we just won’t be there anymore,” lamented Sadie.

“We’ve always been a walk-in centre with no waiting time and that’s very different having it on your doorstep rather than having to go to somewhere like Belfast or Omagh for help.”

Although the drop-in centre is to close, HURT will still continue to operate its educational programmes.

“As well as the educational programmes we will continue to support those people that we have some funding for, but will now pass onto the relevant organisation for referral the majority of callers who would have been helped here,” she noted.

“I want to say a big thank you to Raymond McCartney who has always had our back and so many good people who have helped and supported us throughout the years.”