Belfast Telegraph

Extern takes on the work and staff from troubled Fasa

By Claire McNeilly

The boss of a charity that has taken on 27 workers from a troubled organisation that helped drug and alcohol abusers said he hopes to offer jobs to more former employees of Fasa.

The Forum for Action on Substance Abuse (Fasa), which had suspended its services due to financial difficulties and is being investigated by the Charity Commission, went into liquidation yesterday.

Charlie Mack, the chief executive of Extern, another organisation that supports abuse victims and ex-offenders, is to take over some of Fasa's work and 27 of its 59 staff, who will be based in Mallusk.

"We've been entrusted with six contracts from the Public Health Agency so, as of today, we're saving 27 staff jobs," he said yesterday.

"More importantly, people in despair who would normally have access to the crisis intervention services at Fasa will now be able to access that directly from Extern.

"We had hoped to secure all 59 jobs but the complexity of some contracts meant this was not possible - but we still hope to save more jobs.

"We hope the remaining contracts held by other funders, including the Department for Social Development, can be considered for procurement as soon as possible to ensure service provision is available to those who are most vulnerable at the point where they need support."

Belfast father-of-four James Scott, one of the 27 people whose jobs were saved, said: "I'd been working with Fasa for just over eight years and it was a complete shock when we became aware of the organisation's financial problems."

"Staff were facing a second month without pay. I have four children under the age of 14 so this has come at a crucial time for me and many of my colleagues," added the 38-year-old community support worker.

Belfast Telegraph


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