17 April 2009
Jonathan Bans / BRC
Life can be both hard and hazardous for those living with alcohol or drug addictions – but now an innovative Red Cross project is bringing vital first aid skills to vulnerable people in Northern Ireland.
The Red Cross is providing first aid training for staff and volunteers at the Hope Centre in Ballymena, County Antrim, which helps individuals and families coping with the problems of substance abuse. Once trained, they will then pass on their new skills to many of the centre’s 500 registered clients.
Anne Henry, centre manager, said: “We see 30 to 40 people each day, many of whom have missed out on education and lack the most basic skills. Everything they learn here gives them a chance to get their lives back on track and creates a real sense of achievement.”
She added: “They are an extremely vulnerable group – exactly the type of individuals who might find themselves in a situation where basic first aid knowledge could make all the difference.”
Besides offering support, information and advice, the Hope Centre has a number of educational programmes geared towards building self-esteem and independent living skills that can help clients combat their addiction.
Anne thinks the new training will prove a really useful addition for the centre. She said: “We’re very pleased that the Red Cross has helped us integrate first aid education into our range of programmes.”
Support and advice
The Hope Centre was established in 2000 by a group of concerned parents in the Ballymena area. It offers support, information and advice to anyone affected by drug abuse. Of those who use the services, 42 per cent have alcohol-related problems and 36 per cent are heroin addicts.
Find out about first aid training
Become a first aid volunteer