£1.4m funding for Foyle women’s aid

Marie Brown from Foyle Women's Aid.
Marie Brown from Foyle Women's Aid.

The former Sister of Mercy convent in Pump Street is to be transformed into a family justice centre by Foyle Women’s Aid.

The group have just been awarded a grant of £1.4 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund which will see the landmark Georgian building in Derry’s Cathedral Quarter completely restored.

The convent will be transformed into Northern Ireland’s First Family Justice Centre by Foyle Women’s Aid.

It will also provide accommodation for victims of sexual and domestic abuse and also house a coffee shop and host a women’s history project.

The Grade B listed Georgian building in Pump Street was constructed in 1780 as the Kings Arms Hotel and in its early years was the meeting place for the local Grand Jury.

In 1848 it was taken over by the Sisters of Mercy who ran it as a convent until the 1990s.

Today the building is in a serious state of disrepair and in urgent need of restoration.

Marie Brown of Foyle Women’s Aid said the group were looking forward to the plans.

“We’re delighted to have the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this project,” she said.

“It will mark an important milestone in providing help and support for victims of abuse.

“It will also be open to all – we’re very excited about working with our partners to tell the story of womens’ great contribution to social, political and economic life of the city.”

Paul Mullan, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Northern Ireland added: “We’re delighted to be making another contribution to the restoration of great buildings within the walled city, thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players.

“Our built heritage is important to us all and it is wonderful to see Foyle Womens’ Aid wanting to put it to such important use.