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Drug abuse charity FASA suspends all services as it faces 'immediate and terminal financial insolvency'

Published 09/03/2016

FASA launched Northern Ireland's only 24-hour crisis centre, Nightingale House in east Belfast, last September.
FASA launched Northern Ireland's only 24-hour crisis centre, Nightingale House in east Belfast, last September.

A leading Northern Ireland charity for substance abuse and suicide awareness has suspended all its services as it faces "immediate and terminal financial insolvency".

FASA launched Northern Ireland's only 24-hour crisis centre, Nightingale House in east Belfast, last September.

It has been in operation for more than 20 years and provides programmes and services in prevention, intervention and post-vention to those most vulnerable in the community.

It has received nearly £130,000 from Comic Relief to help with its crucial work and has IBF and WBA super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton as its patron.

FASA said it made the announcement with "overwhelming sadness" that all services have been suspended.

It is now seeking urgent meetings at ministerial level in a bid to continue "vital services" for their users which is their "over-riding concern".

In a statement FASA said: "It is with overwhelming sadness that we announce that FASA is facing the prospect of immediate and terminal financial insolvency.  As a result all services have been suspended. 

"We are deeply committed to the vital services which FASA provides to needy and vulnerable individuals and we are seeking urgent meetings with funders and with political representatives at the highest level to avert this crisis and to enable the continuation of these essential support services."

FASA praised the "professionalism and commitment" of the dedicated staff team of more than 60 paid staff and 70 volunteers.

"FASA had worked to create a unique blend of skills and expertise within our sector, working across the disciplines of Suicide, Self Harm, Substance Misuse and Mental Health Crisis, often in a context of short-term funding provision.

"FASA has delivered cross community services at the point of need in communities across Northern Ireland breaking many cultural and religious barriers.

"Demand for our services has grown and as a charity we have consistently fought to meet the exceptionally high demand, something at this point that has put us at risk as an organisation. In seeking urgent meetings at Ministerial level we reiterate that the continuation of these vital services, in the interest of service users, is our over-riding concern."

If you have been affected by this statement and require support please contact Lifeline on 0808 8088000  or the Samaritans 116 123.  

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