‘There’s help out there this Christmas and New Year’

CHRISTMAS COFFEE MORNING. . . .Group pictured at the Annual Christmas Coffee Morning held at First Housing Aid and Support Services, Francis Street Derry. On right are organisers, Sandra Duffy and Aidie Kehoe, First Housing. DER5114MC040
CHRISTMAS COFFEE MORNING. . . .Group pictured at the Annual Christmas Coffee Morning held at First Housing Aid and Support Services, Francis Street Derry. On right are organisers, Sandra Duffy and Aidie Kehoe, First Housing. DER5114MC040
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First Housing Aid and Support Services hosted its annual Christmas coffee morning on Wednesday afternoon.

Each year, the local homeless organisation hosts a coffee morning to raise awareness of homelessness in the city and to make people aware of the support available.

Speaking to the ‘Derry Journal’ at this year’s coffee morning, Sandra Duffy, who is the First Housing Youth Accommodation Support Project Co-ordinator said: “For many the Christmas period is a time of celebration and enjoyment, but sadly this is not the case for everyone.

“Unfortunately, there are many in our city, through no fault of their own, who will find themselves without a home during the festive period.”

Sandra brought the reality of Christmas for some people to the fore and she encouraged anyone who is in distress over the festive period to seek help immediately.

“There can be many reasons for this. Away from the glitz and the festive TV adverts in many homes there is a lot of stress and worry. A lot of time the tensions within a family setting can be brought to a head at this time of year, leading to the extra consumption of alcohol, domestic violence, violence against children.

“Sadly this can lead to in some instances to young people leaving the family home with the clothes on their back and a small bag of belongings.”

First Housing Aid and Support provides Christmas dinner to many of the young people they work with. The organisation is absolutely invaluable to tackling homelessness locally and Sandra encouraged anyone out there needing to access help to contact the group.

“They need to know there is help out there, friends and family, they need to know there is help out there too.

“I would urge any young person who finds themselves in this situation or anyone who knows of a young person in this situation to contact myself or any of the support workers in my team on 02871371849,” she said.