BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Northern Ireland
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 20 December, 2000, 08:52 GMT
Vigil focuses on homeless

Charity aids the homeless in the province
The problem of homelessness in Northern Ireland is being highlighted with a charity sit-out and vigil on Wednesday.

Organised by the Simon Community, the all-day event aims to focus on the plight of the homeless at Christmas.

It comes in the wake of news that the province's homeless are set to benefit from a major lottery grant announced by the New Opportunities Fund.

The Simon Community has been awarded a grant of 163,459 which will be used to help disadvantaged people learn new skills in information and communications technology.

Homeless sign
Homelessness is being highlighted by a vigil

Six hundred homeless people in Belfast, Derry, Coleraine, Larne and Newry will benefit from the money.

Lindsay Conway, chairman of the Board of Directors for the Simon Community Northern Ireland, said it was vital that homeless people had access to the same training opportunities as the rest of society.

He added: "The programme is all about personal development, training in basic numeracy and literacy skills and ICT and creating employment opportunities for one of the most socially disadvantaged groups in Northern Ireland.

"The Simon Community wants to offer more than accommodation.

"More than 20% of people who present themselves to us as homeless will return to us again. This project will enable us to break that cycle by providing these people with essential lifelong learning skills."

Seven beneficiaries

William, 31, who secured accommodation through the Simon Community in Belfast, said he hoped the project would help him find employment.

He added: "I've just moved into my own flat thanks to the help of staff at the Simon Community. Now I'm hoping to improve my computer skills through this project."

The Simon Community is one of seven groups which will share the grant of 657,648.

Groups set to benefit from the awards include young mothers, ex-prisoners, farmers, long-term unemployed and people with few or no formal qualifications.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

18 Dec 00 | Scotland
Cash to help homeless
06 Dec 00 | Scotland
Homelessness reaches new heights
01 Jun 00 | Scotland
Extra cash for homeless battle
11 Feb 00 | Scotland
Capital homeless 'crisis'
13 Dec 99 | Scotland
Homeless 'abused by public'
07 Dec 99 | Scotland
Homelessness 'reaches new high'
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Northern Ireland stories