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DEPAUL IRELAND CASTLEHILL 2 Year Retrospective 2009 - 2011

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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

FOREWORD Depaul Ireland is an organisation that is about taking risks and responding to unmet needs. When we opened Castlehill in Dungannon, our first venture outside of Belfast, we were excited if a little nervous. There had been some questions raised in the planning stages about the level of need in the area and the size and type of service required. It has become evident that Castlehill plays a pivotal role in addressing the issue of homelessness outside of the capital and has rarely operated below 100% occupancy since opening it’s doors. The service has far exceeded all our expectations thanks to the work of the staff team and our partner agencies. Castlehill is a special project, operating in a market town with limited access to other accommodation services locally, part of its success has been through adopting the Depaul Ireland Low Threshold ethos. The team have created a welcoming and accessible environment to anyone who has come to them for support and it is testament of their commitment to this ethos that they have been able to support people with very complex needs within the service. Despite being a ‘little further afield’ the Castlehill Staff and Service Users have always played an active role in the wider aspects of Depaul Ireland’s organisational life through volunteering at events such as our ‘Voice of the City’ event in Belfast City Hall and our ‘Life’s no picnic on the streets’ event at Electric Picnic in Stradbally. They have also played an active role in the wider community in Dungannon and have been keen to raise the issue of homelessness with others. For all their commitment and for bringing so much to the life of Depaul Ireland I would like to thank the Staff and Service Users of Castlehill and wish them well for the years ahead. At Depaul Ireland we recognise that we rely so much on the support of others to be able to do the work that we do in our services on a daily basis. I would like to thank Helm Housing Association for the wonderful premises we have as this provides us with high standards in the physical environment to match the professional standards we have in our staff team. I would so like to thank the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for all their support not only at a local area office level but also through the Supporting People Team. We are truly delighted that this service came into being and has continued to contribute significantly to our collective goal to address homelessness in Northern Ireland. I would like to also thank all of the other local group, statutory and voluntary, in the area who have worked with us to make this project a success. Congratulations to all involved in Castlehill and I look forward to seeing all the future work in the service to support people to move them towards a more positive future. Kerry Anthony MBE Chief Executive Officer Depaul Ireland

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Castlehill opened its doors in June 2009 becoming Depaul Ireland’s first service outside a major city. This was in response to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive identifying the area as requiring a specific focus on the provision of an accommodation based service. In partnership with Helm Housing Association, Depaul Ireland developed Castlehill as a purpose built service with the intention of providing high quality accommodation and support to people experiencing homelessness within the area.

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Basic Profile • Type of accommodation: Temporary accommodation facility. • Capacity: 22 apartments (6 apartments suitable for couples). • Staff availability: 24/7 staffed. Needs and Background Castlehill is a mixed gender, low threshold project with Service Users aged from 18 years upwards. It is a supported temporary accommodation facility where Service Users can live for up to a maximum of 2 years. The project provides those living there with the opportunity to develop their independent living skills with the support of Depaul Ireland’s professional staff, with the objective of moving onto permanent accommodation. In all of its services Depaul Ireland aims to provide disadvantaged people the opportunity to fulfil their potential and move forward towards an independent and positive future.

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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

Project Aims and Objectives • To provide high quality accommodation, with 24/7 professional support for people experiencing homelessness who are 18 years of age and older. • To deliver a service based on low threshold principles. The aim of a low threshold approach is to consciously maintain the entry and accommodation requirements of a service at such a level that as few people as possible are denied access to that service. • To provide access to welfare rights advice, health care and other specialist services i.e. mental health services, through consultation and links with local health bodies. • To address physical and mental health needs of Service Users through working within a personalised programme of support planing and key working. • To provide advice and support on areas such as budgeting, creative activity and activities that promotes self esteem. • To provide support and assistance to those presenting with complex needs including substance misuse, criminal justice involvement etc. • To identify move-on opportunities for the Service User Group using key-working and support planning. • To provide a homely environment for the Service Users giving them respect and dignity.

Reflection In June 2011 Depaul Ireland’s Castlehill service reached another significant milestone; that of being open for 2 years. These 2 years have been extremely eventful and provided a constant challenge for the staff team as they have evolved and learned to support a Service User Group with ever changing and complex needs. The projects profile has increased within the community, positive relationships have been established with local agencies and stakeholders. These relationships continue to prove mutually beneficial. A commitment to Depaul’s Low Threshold principles has been paramount. Resettlement has been a key focus for the project and many Service Users have been resettled into sustainable long term accommodation. The majority of these tenancies have been with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or Housing Association properties. Castlehill has maintained maximum capacity and continues to operate a waiting list for accommodation.

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CASTLEHILL SERVICE USERS AND STAFF Resettlement Figures A total of 76 individuals have been accommodated at Castlehill since it opened in June 2009. Of these, 53 have been resettled.

Resettlement Statistics June o9 – August 11



7 Private Rental


29 10




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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

100% of people who have been resettled have maintained their accommodation. Of the 53 people who have been resettled, 6 maintain contact with the service and receive ongoing support by return visits to the project. It is a significant achievement that of 29 people resettled Northern Ireland Housing Executive or Housing Association properties, 28 continue to maintain their tenancies. One person returned to Castlehill for a short period due to personal circumstances, she has since returned to her tenancy. Castlehill can accommodate up to 28 people at any one time. The Service Users present with a range of complex support needs. For some people due to their challenging behaviour, addiction issues and ability to live independently, they have found it difficult to sustain their own tenancies within a community. Affordability and access to social housing, as many parts of Northern Ireland, continues to be an issue in Dungannon. As agreed at the outset with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive the project endeavours to accommodate 15 individuals who are assessed as Full Duty Applicants by the local area office.

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ACCOMMODATION OVERVIEW 76 Service Users have been accommodated since June 2009. Gender - 50 men / 26 women Ethnic Origin Northern Ireland East Timor Lithuania Portugal England Ivory Coast Irish Traveller Poland

63 2 1 3 2 1 2 2

Average Length of Stay - 7.5 months Service User support needs have been identified as follows Support Needs

Age 25 and under (43) Number


Age 26 to 45 (25) Number


Age 46 and over (8) Number


Motivation & Taking Responsibility







Self Care & Living Skills







Managing Money & Personal Administration







Social Networks & Relationships







Drug & Alcohol Misuse







Physical Health







Emotional & Mental Health







Meaningful Use of Time







Managing Tenancy & Accommodation














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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

Keyworking 100% of Service Users are allocated a keyworker within 72 hours of induction and receive weekly planned keywork sessions. During the sessions the Service Users’ needs, risks and personal goals are evaluated and addressed. Utilising the Outcome Star Model ensures that risk assessment and support planning activities are led by the Service Users and where appropriate in partnership with external support agencies with the support of the keyworker. Support plans are reviewed at a minimum of every 3 months and more regularly if required.

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Referral Trends The service has seen a steady increase in the number of clients presenting with multiple high support needs, the most prevalent being those with mental health diagnoses and substance/poly-substance use. Within the last 12 months there has been a significant increase in the number of referrals received from Southern Health & Social Services Trust, Probation Board & Prison Service of Northern Ireland. Of these referrals there is an increase in individuals who have convictions for and a history of violence; due to this increase extensive and robust risk assessments are undertaken in conjunction with the referring agents to ascertain the appropriateness of the service to accommodate these individuals. Should this trend continue, staffing levels may need to be re-assessed with a view to increasing the number of staff currently employed in-order to maintain a safe and stable environment for Staff and Service Users. There has been an increase in the number of significant incidents directly related to the higher need Service Users. In the first year from June 2009 to June 2010 there were 24 recorded incidents. This has increased in year 2 to 41 recorded incidents, an increase of 71%. There appears to have been an increase in the number of referrals age 26 and under.

Waiting List The demand for the service remains high. In an effort to maintain the very high level of occupancy the project operates a waiting list which rarely drops below 30. Currently it is sitting at 8 Northern Ireland Housing Executive referrals with Full Duty Applicants status and 22 referrals from other agencies and self referrals. This is monitored and updated regularly and people are contacted on their mobiles on a 4 – 6 weekly basis to re-register their status and to keep a relationship going. Current waiting list is made up as follows:

Currently Living


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Transient Moving Around

Sofa Surfing


Social Services


Temporary Accommodation / Supported Housing







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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

Working in Partnership Depaul Ireland services are aware of their limitations and the need to work in partnership with others and welcome this in the best interest of the Service User Group. At Castlehill there has been a pro-active approach to building relationships with stakeholders in the district. It is not always easy to work outside of one of the main cities and as such partnerships can at times be even more important and prove even more beneficial.



• Dungannon District Housing Association


• Unemployment Services

• Olive Branch

• Health and Social Services

• Break Thru

• PSNI/ Community Policing

• Sure Start

• Public Health Agency


• Community Addiction Team

• Local Community

• Dungannon District Council

• Other Agencies as Appropriate

• Home Treatment Team

• Lite Project

• Helm Housing

• Opportunity Youth

• Housing Benefit

• Vineyard

• Southern Education & Library Board



• Housing Rights

• SDACT (Southern Drug & Alcohol

• Women’s Aid

Coordination Team) • Probation Board

• Opportunity Youth • Beacon House

• Prison Service of NI

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Northern Ireland Housing Executive

PSNI & Community Policing

The relationship with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive has been critical with this service and there are fortnightly and bi-monthly meetings with management and housing officers in the local are office. The relationship with the Supporting People team is also very positive and again there have been regular meetings over the two years . During the validation visit the contribution Castlehill has made and the importance of the Depaul Ireland low threshold and person centred approach was commended.

The support of policing services and working together with police services in the delivery accommodation service to people experiencing homelessness is critical. Following a series of meetings with local Constables of the Dungannon Neighbourhood Team (Town Centre Beat), protocols have been developed for managing the most frequent challenges that both parties face. It was agreed the PSNI would represent the first point of contact for any non-emergency interaction between the 2 services. In the event of a major incident or emergency the PSNI would provide follow up and debriefing functions. Liaison with the wider PSNI is at times facilitated by the PSNI Dungannon Neighbourhood Team.

Southern Health & Social Services Trust The Southern Health & Social Service Trust 16+ team (SHSST) were one of earliest referring agents and those early positive interactions ensured that they became one of the first advocates of the services we offer. This relationship has become invaluable in the delivery of the service to young people. SHSST Mental Health Services The number of people experiencing mental health issues and homelessness is high. Therefore the strong links that have been established with SHSST Community & Psychiatric Nurses (CPN) and Home Treatment team have proved invaluable. The Home treatment team have acknowledged the value of the service and the professionalism of the staff team at Castlehill. There is also a recognition that Castlehill service compliments their working practices.

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Dungannon District Council There is regular interaction with Dungannon District Council and there has been support to secure additional resources to compliment the service. Rotary Club We have been approached by the Rotary Club of Dungannon who wish to provide us with any support they can including financial donations. The Manager has made a number of presentations to their members. As a result of this the members have selected us as one of this year’s Charities of Choice.

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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

Service User Involvement One of Depaul Ireland strategic objectives is to ensure that Service Users are at the core of all we do and this is evident in Castlehills commitment to Service User involvement. Service Users are regularly involved in the day to day running of Castlehill. They carry out health and safety checks, fire evacuation exercises and have input into risk management within the service. They have participated in joint training some of which was accredited, with staff from Castlehill and other Depaul services. Service Users have also volunteered at organisational and public events such as Electric Picnic, Homeless Awareness Week, Armagh 10k run, Community International Day to name but a few. Throughout the 2 years service user feedback is regularly sought, one method which has been particularly useful has been through questionnaires. The topics include complaints and complaint procedures, keyworker performance and support planning documentation. When a Service User is moving on they complete an evaluation questionnaire reflecting their experience in Castlehill. This enables ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the support provided. Service Users also contribute in the recruitment of staff by way of submitting questions and scenarios to be used during the interview process. A Service User received training in interview techniques and consequently sat on an interview panel during a round of recruitment at Castlehill. During our most recent internal organisational audit, 3 of our Service Users participated in the Staff and Service User interview process. This included Service Users asking Staff a selection of questions that helped to evaluate service provision within Castlehill. The Service User evaluation questionnaire enabled feedback to be received on how the Service User rated the experience and how the experience benefited them. It also highlighted areas for improvement. Service Users participate in the review of house Policy and Procedures by way of discussion groups and Service User meetings.

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The staff team has received in excess of 320 hours each of appropriate training. A great proportion of the training has been identified in response to the ever changing needs of our Service User Group.

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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

Service User Reflections

Hi, I’m Daniel I have been a resident of Depaul Castlehill for nearly 2 years now, and I can say that it’s been a great help in me finding my way in life. When I moved in I was nervous about it, I had no confidence or self-esteem, I had not been on great terms with a number of friends, was really depressed, and I used drugs. Fast forward 2 years and I am drug free, with lots of good things to focus on in the future, including a son. I stopped taking drugs through doing a drug and alcohol awareness course that Depaul set up for residents, it was purely voluntary for us to take part, but had the course not been available to me, I don’t think I would have been clean for over a year now, and am even determined to become a drug and alcohol support worker myself because of this.

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Chris, my keyworker at Depaul, sent a story I wrote (about some things that had happened to me over the years of taking drugs and about eventually quitting them), to the head of CHNI Substance Use Training Services so he could have a look, he was impressed; and now he has offered me the opportunity to present seminars and training on the subject of drugs. This is an example of how far I’ve come since I moved in there. The Staff are all great and I get on with all of them, they do all they can to help you if you have a dilemma and have helped me many times, even if it’s just advice, they are there for you. I really enjoyed my stay here and although my time is coming to an end soon because I need to move on with having a kid on the way, I will miss living at Depaul, and I am grateful for all they have done for me.

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Service User Reflections

My name is John. I have lived in Depaul Ireland Castlehill Dungannon for 7 months. I was homeless and I found this place by going to the Housing Executive. It has changed my life for the best because I was a compulsive gambler. My mum and dad did not talk to me and I got into trouble with police. By being in Depaul and talking to my pastor I now have a clean record with the police. I have learned how to cook and how to live independently. I now have my gambling under control.

I submitted an application to go to Electric Picnic as a Service User Volunteer and was lucky to be accepted. It was the best experience of my life, I really enjoyed myself. It really helped my confidence meeting new people and talking about Depaul. I felt I was able to give something back to Depaul Ireland by going and doing my job well.

I took part in an arts and crafts workshop which was very good. It was fun and it got everybody together, it was good to have something to do and a sense of achievement at the end of the project. The people taking the workshops were very good and knew what they were doing. They made it easy to understand and they were easy to talk to.

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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

My Saviour Depaul Castlehill I had it all, wife 4 children, good job, beautiful home, a car and a grand jeep. Nothing could be more perfect it was all I ever dreamt of and nothing was ever going to take it away from me. One night after a very stressful week at work I went out with a mate, on seeing how stressed I was suggested I try a bit of heroin, that I would feel better and once wouldn’t do a bit of harm. I believed him and tried it, it gave me a buzz at the time and I forgot about my problems, but it wasn’t long till heroin was ruling my life. I lost everything my family, my home, my job and the cars I was so proud of. There I was, homeless with nothing when I was referred to Castlehill, what a difference that made. I was not judged for what I had become but was informed of all the help that was on offer through the project, I wasn’t pressurised to do anything but take care of myself. I was allocated a brilliant key worker who, when I hit rock bottom was there for me every step of the way and if he wasn’t available other Depaul staff were always there. My life changed completely, with the help of Castlehill Staff I got clean from heroin. I have my life back on track, moved into my own home got a full time job doing what I love, but best of all I have my family back. I will be forever grateful to Castlehill for all their help while I was a resident but also my support is ongoing I am always made feel welcome every time I return. That is why I call it my Saviour as without them I don’t think I would be around today to tell my story. Former Service User Castlehill

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CHALLENGES Resettlement Challenges Single people find particular challenges through the common selection scheme to find access to social housing. Affordability continues to be an issue in accessing the private emergency sector. Here are 2 case examples that illustrate this point. Case Study One John is a 36yr old man who had a great deal of support needs when he moved into temporary accommodation. He had previously been rough sleeping. Since moving into temporary accommodation over a year ago he has accessed the support that is available to him and as a result has made great strides in improving his lifestyle. He also has 4 young children who he has re-gained contact with and as a result he needs move on accommodation which will allow for him to have his children with him at times. John has progressed well throughout his time in temporary accommodation and is ready to live independently. His remaining support needs at the stage is housing. John has been awarded him 32 points through the housing assessment. This is insufficient to secure a 2 bedroom flat that he needs in order to be able to have his children with him. Private rental costs for this are extremely high. For someone on benefits it is not possible to meet the cost of a deposit and advance rent. He has also tried to source deposits from other agencies and also charitable organisations but has been unsuccessful so far. Total income from benefits £98 per fortnight Outgoings per fortnight: Service charge of £10 per fortnight Electric £10 per fortnight Heating £10 per fortnight Food shopping £40 per fortnight Child maintenance £20 per fortnight Total £90 Disposable Income £8 per fortnight

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Castlehill 2 Year Retrospective

Case Study Two Debbie is a 31 year old female Service User who is also now capable of independent living. Having carried out an assessment the Northern Ireland Housing Executive have accepted that she is homeless but they have determined that she is not in priority need. As such she is not a Full Duty Applicant and has been awarded n0 housing points. Total Income per month £408 per month She is employed part time earning approx £408 per month. Due to low income she receives financial support from Housing Benefit to pay a portion of her rent. Total Outgoings Rent £105 per month Service charge £20 per month Heating £25 per month Electricity £25 per month Groceries and toiletries £100 per month Clothing and footwear £25 per month TV license £12.13 per month Transport £50 per month Total £362.13 Disposable Income £45.87 per month. (best case scenario) unplanned expenses factored. On the basis that this Service User was able to save the above excess it would take her 18 months to save up the deposit and advance rental on a private dwelling costing £400 per month. That is the average cost of a private rental property in reasonable proximity to her workplace. If she lives further away her transport costs will rise.

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Two years on there is little doubt that Castlehill is a success! Their service is needed and utilised by some of those who may struggle to find help and support elsewhere. The feedback from the Service Users has been exceptional particularly in their praise of the Staff Team. The statistics of both occupancy and through put are a testament to the work of the team in ensuring that there is easy access to the service and support to move on when ready. The place that Castlehill has found in the wider community is also important because at Depaul the belief is that, not only should everyone have a place to call home but they should also have stake in their community. It is only by taking this wider approach and not seeing projects as simply a building within which all of a persons needs can be met that we can really ensure we are providing an excellent service. Rather it is about engaging with others and ensuring those people who come to us for support know where to go to get additional interventions if that is needed and reminding them daily that they have a pivotal role to play not just within the Castlehill service but outside of it too. There continues to be challenges across Northern Ireland in terms of access to social housing and we will continue to support people to access move on. This will ensure that when they are ready they are given the tools to move on so we can provide ongoing support to others who need us.

GALLERY 01. Castlehill football team 02. Christmas dinner 03. View from Service Users window Christmas 04. Homeless Awareness Week 05. Homeless Awareness Week 06. Homeless Awareness Week Community Support Group 07. Halloween 08. Electric Picnic 09. Mayor of Dungannon visits Castlehill with ‘Student Mayor’ for a day 10. Daytrip to Castlewellan 11. Daytrip to Giant’s Causeway 12. Smoothie making with medical students and Service Users 13. Gannon Ball Run 2011 14. Arts and crafts with medical students and Service Users on Depaul International Day 15. International Day and Former Service Users’ 50th Birthday. 16. Castlehill BBQ

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Dublin Office / 18 Nicholas Street, Dublin 8 00353 1 453 7111 / T / E / W Belfast Office / 38 University Street, Belfast BT7 1FZ 0044 28 90 202 245 / T / E / W

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Castlehill Review  

In partnership with Helm Housing (formerly BIH Housing Association), Castlehill Project offers temporary accommodation to single homeless pe...