Marking the occasion at East Belfast Mission
Homelessness continues to be a significant challenge in Northern Ireland and a problem that afflicts the lives of many. There are numerous reasons for homelessness; family dispute, breakdown in living arrangements, addiction, mental ill heath, debt, tenancy breakdown and so on. The effect of homelessness impacts on individual lives for years and this influence goes beyond the immediate lack of accommodation. It impedes an individual’s health, financial and social wellbeing. “For this reason, no one organisation or agency can address these issues in isolation. There is now a greater need than ever to respond to homelessness in a coordinated multi-agency approach… and for each partner to contribute their expertise and resources to promote social inclusion.” (NIHE Homelessness Strategy for Northern Ireland 2012-2017)
Hosford House is a hostel within East Belfast Mission (EBM) working relentlessly to do just that. They provide a professional service to actively respond to the needs of homeless people and support them towards independent living. EBM believe that everybody matters and at Hosford that means valuing everyone’s right to a home.
BCPP are very proud to announce one of their recently funded projects Hosford at East Belfast Mission. CDHN Director and the BCPP team, along with Steering Group chair Dr Norman Morrow and members Dr Vanessa Chambers and Cathy Harrison were in attendance.
During the visit we were welcomed by Hosford manager, Aidan Byrne and Andrea Donnan, (project assistant) who gave us a tour of the new Skainos project at EBM and the experience of seeing a live BCPP session. On this occasion, the pharmacist along with the participants and cook were making homemade food. There was a lot of laughter and energy in the room and a great sense of togetherness and a chance to discuss health issues in an informal manner.
The aim of the BCPP project is to build on the success of their previous projects to improve the knowledge, skills and confidence of participants including residents, other local hostel users and ex-homeless in partnership with the local pharmacist. With the pharmacy situated a few doors away, it provides easy access to the pharmacist and a link to other services and organisations. The sessions will be based around cookery through Root Soup, a social enterprise initiative. The programme focuses on the pharmacist attending sessions that will work to build a trusting and positive relationship with the target group. Those involved will be encouraged to take a proactive approach to their own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
The day also marked the retirement of Dr Norman Morrow, the chair of the BCPP Steering Group and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer NI. We would like to wish Norman every happiness in his well-earned retirement and to say a HUGE thank you for all his leadership and commitment to BCPP.