A Londonderry suicide prevention centre which is at risk of closure has received an emergency cash boost from the Health Minister.
The Community Crisis Intervention Centre (CCIS), operated by the social justice charity Extern, was in jeopardy after Robin Swann previously confirmed in a letter that his department would not provide further funding.
The Department of Health funded the CCIS through funding from the confidence and supply deal between the Conservatives and the DUP until March 31 as a pilot project.
This funding was continued for three months as an interim measure during the deadly pandemic.
Visiting their Derry office yesterday, Mr Swann agreed an extension of £32,400 to be allocated to keep services running for a further three months.
"I hope this funding provides both the breathing space and an opportunity for renewed discussion with stakeholders to try and reach a longer-term funding solution for the initiative," said Mr Swann
"The service has shown positive benefits for those clients who are in crisis and I sincerely hope that funding is secured to enable the service to continue.
"It is incumbent on the council who commission the service to secure a sustainable funding solution going forward.
"I encourage all stakeholders to use this additional period as an opportunity to have those conversations and engage extensively with Extern to identify lasting funding options."
While the intervention was praised, it is believed the CCIS requires an annual budget of around £215,000, leaving a significant shortfall.
Foyle MP and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: "As welcome as this relief funding is, we still need to fight to ensure a long-term and sustainable funding solution for this critical service, which currently will not stay afloat past September."