£20,000 re-allocated to crisis intervention scheme

Mark H. Durkan.
Mark H. Durkan.

The Department of Health is to allocate a further £20,000 to the crisis intervention pilot scheme in Derry.

The money had been earmarked for a similar service in Belfast, which has been delayed.

Local SDLP MLA and health spokesperson, Mark H. Durkan, wrote to the permanent secretary of the Department of Health when it was revealed the Belfast pilot scheme will not be launched this financial year.

He requested £20,000 from the Belfast budget to be reallocated to Derry to reduce the financial commitment from Foyle Search & Rescue.

Earlier this week, the permanent secretary Richard Pengelly, responded to Mr Durkan and confirmed he would reallocate £20,000.

In the letter, Mr Pengelly also paid tribute to the ‘important role that Foyle Search & Rescue plays in providing help and support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society’.

The city’s fourth emergency service had pledged £20,000 to the crisis intervention service but this can now be spent on continuing their life saving work.

Mr. Durkan said he was ‘very pleased the department responded favourably to my proposal’.

“The crisis intervention service is a vital service and one we have fought hard for. It is important that we make a success of it and it is already proving to be hugely valuable at helping people in distress.”

Stephen Twells, chairperson of Foyle Search & Rescue, said the charity had agreed to invest in the service because “it was a worthwhile investment and we are delighted it is up and running.

“We will now be using the money to continue life saving work we do.”