Debate on funding for Crisis Intervention Service in NI Executive secured by Foyle MLA

Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton has secured a debate in the NI Assembly next week regarding funding for the local Crisis Intervention Service.
DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEyeDUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The move comes as the service, which has been praised for its life-saving work, faces a new funding crisis, as a temporary allocation to keep it going, announced by the Health Minister Robin Swann in the summer, is to run out within weeks.

Mr Middleton said the Crisis Intervention Service, which is run by Extern, has been a vital support for many who have needed assistance during the most difficult of times.

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He said: “Funding for this service in the North West has been extended on a short term basis on a number of occasions. With funding once again due to come to an end at the end of the month, a solution needs to be found to fund the service in the long term.

“Our constituency has witnessed the devastating loss of far too many young people and people of all ages.

“It is vital that the Health Minister and the Department for Health ensure that there is support available for those who need it most.

“I will be urging all of the relevant stakeholders to step up and ensure this service is funded.”

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The Assembly debate will take place on Tuesday of next week, September 15.

The Crisis Intervention Service pilot was set up after years of grassroots campaigning by local people, including bereaved families and other people personally affected by suicide, addiction and other mental health issues, for a facility to help people in crisis at the point of need.

It was funded initially by Derry City & Strabane District Council in conjunction with Foyle Search & Rescue with additional funding from the Western Trust, Ulster University and the Health and Social Care Board in order to get it up and running.

Back in June, Health Minister Robin Swann announced a funding allocation of £32,000 for the Derry Community Crisis Intervention Service (CCIS) to ensure it could continue over the summer.

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He said at the time: “I hope this funding provides both the breathing space and an opportunity for renewed discussion with stakeholders to try and reach a longer term funding solution for the initiative.

“The service has shown positive benefits for those clients who are in crisis and I sincerely hope that funding is secured to enable the service to continue.

“It is incumbent on the Council who commission the service to secure a sustainable funding solution going forward. I encourage all stakeholders to use this additional period as an opportunity to have those conversations and engage extensively with Extern to identify lasting funding options. Given the cross-cutting and important nature of the CCIS, I hope that this will include a multi-agency solution involving local enforcement agencies.”