Celebrating 20 years of Strand Foyer
Last week marked twenty years since the Strand Foyer in Derry/Londonderry opened its doors; and to celebrate the Foyer held an event to showcase its work and to celebrate the achievements of its young people.
Since opening, Strand Foyer has supported around 1,500 local young people aged 18 to 25 offering accommodation, training and employment opportunities to prevent the downward spiral of homelessness and unemployment. The Foyer is part funded by Supporting People.
Gary Scott (25) started living in Strand Foyer last year as a result of being declared homeless following a family breakdown, and says the support has been invaluable.
My time in the Foyer has helped me to mature and given me purpose and motivation to move forward in my life. The fact that I haven’t been able to get my maths GCSE has held me back from getting jobs, despite the fact that I have a degree, and so the essential skills programme here in the Foyer has been of real value.
All the support and programmes in Strand Foyer are about helping us become independent and preparing us for the real world, and I know many of the younger residents have benefitted from the cooking and budgeting programmes on offer.
My key worker, Deirdre, has supported me to get on the right track and helped me realise that without purpose I’m more likely to party and drink. She has shown genuine concern about me and my life and is always there for me. I am planning to move on from the Foyer in the next few months, and am so grateful for the help they’ve given me. More facilities like this are definitely needed in the city.
Louise Montgomery, Manager of Strand Foyer, commented:
Strand Foyer is a unique facility with the aim of encouraging our young residents to achieve independence. We offer a wide range of services both in-house and in partnership with other organisations, including essential skills training, personal development and drug and alcohol awareness. Residents are also offered advice and support with budgeting, shopping and cooking.
We can’t believe it’s been twenty years since the opening of the Foyer. In that time, we have had the pleasure of supporting so many young people to find their way in life and have watched many as they go on to succeed in finding employment, independence and a home and life of their own.
This would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the Foyer staff, past and present.