The House in the Wells celebrates vital work at annual BBQ
Last week, The House in the Wells in Derry/Londonderry, held its annual barbecue and fun day for residents and their families, staff and the local community. The event was attended by Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle.
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.
Martin has been a resident in The House in the Wells for over seven years and spoke about his difficulties with drink and drugs.
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.
A lot of our residents tell us that they’ll never stop drinking. That no matter how much help is given to them they’ll always drink. 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.
In The House in the Wells, the model of support is one of harm reduction, whereby controlled drinking is permitted within the accommodation. Each resident, as part of their support planning process enters into an alcohol agreement with their support worker.
For more information about The House in the Wells, please phone 028 7126 7957.