New project to help abuse victims

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The La Dolce Vita project on Queen Street in Derry is aiming to do exactly what it says on the tin and help people move away from domestic abuse and towards ‘La Dolce Vita’ or ‘the good life.’

Thanks to input from the entire community, Donna Maria Logue, the founder of the therapeutic centre, says she has now been able to open the project in the heart of Derry’s city centre.

“I first set up on my own from my bedroom with my note book, flip chart, pen and camera to assist those impacted by domestic violence,” says Donna Maria. “Literally overnight I had people from our community sending messages and seeking help. The demand for the service was very high and in the end I opened up my own service offering one to one therapeutic services, family care, court support, advice and guidance in preparation of meetings with local authorities.”

Other objectives include developing safety plans to safeguard those involved and empowering and giving those impacted a voice.

The project also facilitates a walking group which meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm.

“The service is made as easy as possible for people to access by offering a self referral process,” says Donna Maria. “People can speak to someone ringing our office and talking with one of our trained staff as we understand how difficult it is too ask for help.”

Donna Maria says bringing the project to fruition has only been possible thanks to the contributions of those working alongside her.

“I have a full team of staff behind me now,” she says.

“They are the kindest most caring people to work alongside and are as passionate and committed as myself. The support from the community has been amazing. The offers of help to set up our premises just overwhelmed me. At times I was reduced to tears with kindness from the people of our city.”

Donna Marie thanked a number of people in particular for their help.

“I want to thank Teamworks who assisted in the partitioning wall, John and Paul the painters, Fergusons for our wall sign, Annette for her beautiful hand made paintings.

“I also want to thank my aunt Gabriella and John who loaded me with stationary andhouse hold items, bins the list goes on.

“There’s also Hugh Hegarty and the wee man from Strabane for his kind donation. There are numerous businesses in the city who donated gifts for raffle thank you also.”

The project, which was Donna Maria’s brainchild has come a long way since it first began at the start of this year.

“I never thought when i started this on January 3 as a small group in supporting others that eight months later I’d be talking about the opening of the premises.

“I look around me in amazement and it again proves that when you have the right support and belief behind you can overcome anything and change your life.

“Myself and all at La Dolce Vita Project - Daniel, Gwen, Mary, Joe, Audrey, Fuzlin, Olivia, Elaine, Anne, Kieran, Nick, Michelle would just like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

La Dolce Vita Project are currently running a number of events to raise awareness about the real impact of domestic violence and to assist in raising funds for the organisation in supporting those affected.

“Domestic Violence does not just affect the victim but the family, extended family, friends, work colleagues and communities also,” says Donna Maria.

The first La Dolce Vita event will be held on Sunday September 11 with a Mount Errigal climb departing from 13 Queen Street at 9:30am and returngin at 5:00pm.

Telephone the La Dolce Vita office on 02871 377272 to book aplace.

On Saturday October 15 ‘La Dolce Vita has got Talent’ will take place. Places are limited to take part and the closing date for entries is August 31. There are cash prizes of £300, £200 and £100

Tickets for the event are priced at £10.00 each and are limited.

To contac the La Dolce Vita office at Queen Street about any of these events telephone Donna Maria and her team on 02871377272.