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Catherine House celebrates first anniversary of opening

The Welcome Organisation today celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of our female accommodation service, Catherine House. 

Catherine House is a ten-bedroom supported accommodation-based service for women experiencing homelessness in Belfast.  

Commissioned by the Housing Executive and funded through the Supporting People Programme, Catherine House provides 24 hour supported living for women experiencing homelessness who are ready to take the next steps to living independently. 

Catherine House opened seven years to the day since the death of Catherine Kenny (March 16, 2016) who the service is named after. Catherine was a vulnerable woman who died in Belfast and who used the Welcome’s services.   

In its first year alone Catherine House has supported 12 women to move out of homelessness and into independent living. 

Welcome Organisation Support Workers are on site 24 hours a day providing one-to-one support that is appropriate to the women’s needs, working alongside with them to resolve often deeply rooted challenges and always acting with empathy. 

A key element of the success of Catherine House is the multiagency approach – we work alongside a range of statutory and community sector agencies to provide a rounded and female-centred approach. 

This includes one-to-one trauma informed and female-specific counselling sessions. The women also have access to the Activity Recovery Coaching Help (ARCH)

programme - designed to promote positive mental health in those living with addiction issues. 

The WRDA (Women’s Resource Development Agency) deliver their GOALS programme which has a strong employability focus teaching participants tailor-made techniques for sustainably raising their self-esteem and increasing resilience alongside practical help getting back into work, education or training. 

Beyond the multi-agency approach - the women staying at Catherine House have taken the initiative on organising a number of their own projects, including regular pamper nights, a gardening project and a weekly Sunday dinner together. One of the highlights of the year was the first Christmas at Catherine House which included a Christmas snack party and a three-course Christmas lunch on Christmas Day. 

As we move in to our second year we will continue to expand the range of female-specific support provided at Catherine House, expanding the range of external organisations providing skill-based training so that the women who use the service have the best possible opportunity to progress. 

Marking the first year since the opening of Catherine House Gayle Dalton, Women’s Services Manager, at The Welcome Organisation, said:  

“We are delighted to be celebrating one year since the opening of Catherine House. It the first big milestone for a service that we hope can provide many more women with a safe journey out of homelessness. 

“Our aim when opening Catherine House was for it to be more than just a roof over heads and we have gone some way to achieving that aim. We want to build on that success and continue to help women break the cycle of homelessness and provide them with the skills and confidence to live independently.” 

Catherine House is one the Welcome Organisation’s seven services supporting people on their journey from street to home. Through our Street Outreach service, Drop-in Centre, Mobile Health Unit, Crisis Accommodation for Women, Catherine House and Floating Support service we provide support for over 1,300 people affected by homelessness every year. 

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