Belfast Telegraph

£20m in funding to help victims

Victims funding worth up to £20 million over the next two years is on offer to help people deal with the legacy of violence.

The Victims and Survivors Service Northern Ireland (VSSNI) money will fund high quality, confidential support services promoting health and well-being and social support.

Groups providing therapies to those traumatised by the conflict can apply for grants to provide treatment and there will also be direct financial support for individuals.

VSSNI chief executive Anne Dorbie said: "Just over a third of the people we have seen since the service opened in April have never engaged in any form of dedicated victim support. They have lived with the aftermath of their experiences and coped alone."

The money will fund services provided by victim support organisations from April next year to March 2015. That could include help like counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy for those suffering mental ill health because of their experiences during the decades of violence. The money could also enable befriending, group activities, steps to commemorate the past, welfare advice or activities such as creative writing and youth drama.

Since the VSSNI was launched in April, 235 people have made contact, just over a third of whom have never accessed dedicated victims` services.

Ms Dorbie added: "It is difficult to accurately estimate how many others are out there but we would encourage them to get in touch with us. With funding and a fully developed programme of services now in place, affected individuals can come forward and know that they can access support."

The service has just completed a roadshow of funding workshops for victims' organisations which deliver support. The period for submitting applications is open and will close on December 17. Members of the service hope to be able to make offers of funding in early February.


From Belfast Telegraph