House In The Wells in Derry host annual barbecue

Paddy Downey from The House in the Wells and Deirdre Walker from Apex Housing are pictured with residents at the annual BBQ and fun day
Paddy Downey from The House in the Wells and Deirdre Walker from Apex Housing are pictured with residents at the annual BBQ and fun day

The House in the Wells in Derry has hosted its annual barbecue and fun day with Mayor Michaela Boyle joining residents and their families, staff and the local community.

The House in the Wells is a harm reduction hostel owned and managed by Apex Housing Association, and currently provides accommodation and support for 24 men with addiction issues. It is part funded by Supporting People.

The House in the Wells BBQ and fun day took place on Friday 9 August and saw residents and their families, staff and the local community in attendance.

The House in the Wells BBQ and fun day took place on Friday 9 August and saw residents and their families, staff and the local community in attendance.

Martin has been a resident for over seven years. “I started drinking when I was 11 years old; by 15 I was dependent on drink and by 17 I was in a clinic. Life was good when I met my wife; we had four children together but I couldn’t control my drinking, despite being given chance after chance.

“Now I’m content because she’s happy and the kids are happy. I’ve had problems with drugs in the past, but thankfully now I’m only on the drink. I’m glad to be able to say that in my life now at the minute, I’m really happy.”

Paddy Downey has been working in the hostel for 17 years and says his view of street drinkers has changed drastically in that time. “Before I started working in the House in the Wells, if I saw someone drinking on the street I thought they’re wasting their life.

“After seventeen years of working here you see the people behind the bottle. Our residents all had lives – families, children and jobs. No-one starts off thinking I want to be a drinker; there’s always something that triggers it. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t take the time to see the depression and mental health issues that are often at the root of addiction. There’s definitely a need for more harm reduction hostels where residents can drink in a controlled manner. It’s better for them to know they’re safe and for their families to know there’s somewhere for them to put their head down at night.”

The House in the Wells event was organised as part of the Gasyard F�ile programme

The House in the Wells event was organised as part of the Gasyard F�ile programme

The House In the Wells model is one of harm reduction, whereby controlled drinking is permitted. For more information phone 028 7126 7957.

'Flawless Good' from the local area performed at the event

'Flawless Good' from the local area performed at the event

Father Aidan Mullan, Father Thomas and Rev David Latimer provided a blessing at the beginning of the BBQ

Father Aidan Mullan, Father Thomas and Rev David Latimer provided a blessing at the beginning of the BBQ

Paddy Downey from The House in the Wells and Donna Matthewson from Apex Housing are pictured with Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Counil, Cllr Michaela Boyle, at the annual BBQ and fun day.

Paddy Downey from The House in the Wells and Donna Matthewson from Apex Housing are pictured with Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Counil, Cllr Michaela Boyle, at the annual BBQ and fun day.

Residents and staff enjoyed the annual BBQ and fun day at The House in the Wells

Residents and staff enjoyed the annual BBQ and fun day at The House in the Wells