Minister told of plans for new Vineyard centre

Minister Paul Givan on his visit to Vineyard Compassion. INCR 42-753-CON
Minister Paul Givan on his visit to Vineyard Compassion. INCR 42-753-CON

Plans for a new centre to help tackle poverty and social deprivation in Coleraine have been outlined to Communities Minister Paul Givan.

During his visit to Vineyard Compassion the minister also heard first-hand from some who have benefitted from the range of services.

Ricky Wright, chief Executive Vineyard Compassion, explained that during 2015 over 7,000 support sessions were provided to people in need through a team of 295 volunteers. Last year volunteers contributed almost 14,500 hours to the community.

Mr Wright highlighted how previous departmental funding helped its supported volunteer programme and an online database. He shared plans. currently with council, to build a new Vineyard Compassion Centre which would bring together all projects across the 10-acre site under one roof and described how this would help tackle crisis needs and the root causes of poverty in the Causeway Coast and Glens area.

A former CAP (Christians Against Poverty) debt client spoke passionately of how the organisation had helped her deal with debt and life controlling issues. She said that without Vineyard Compassion she wouldn’t be here today. Now debt free, she has recently become one of Vineyard Compassion’s trained Debt Coaches.

Mr Givan toured projects including the Foodbank, Grow allotment, Vineyard Market and the Link, which offers a variety of work placements designed to increase clients’ skills and employability.

Vineyard Compassion said it looks forward to welcoming Mr Givan back to the new centre in the future.