The imminent closure of Breakthru, the cross-community drug and alcohol awareness organisation, was described as "absolutely horrendous" and "couldn't have come at a worse time" by an Omagh-based GP yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).
The organisation which works to reduce the impact of substance misuse and promote health and well-being has been actively working in the Omagh and Fermanagh areas for some time now and regarded as one of the success stories in this area of community engagement.
It is understood the Board of Breakthru met last week and made their decision, but decided not to make it public due to the tragic events outside the St Patrick's night disco in Cookstown. A total of 14 staff members, two based in Omagh, are to be made redundant this Friday due to funding shortages.
The organisation has two projects in Omagh, Neighbourhood Renewal which offers alcohol and drug awareness programmes within the five neighbourhood renewal areas of Campsie; Gallows Hill, CKS, MACCA and Strathroy in which they work within these communities in partnership with voluntary and statutory agencies to address the issue of substance misuse and associated problems.
Their other project is called DICE (Drug Intervention and Community Education). It provides education, support and interventions for young people affected by ‘Hidden Harm'.
The project also works in schools, raising awareness of the issues and encouraging potentially affected young people to seek help. The work also supports professionals to recognise and respond to ‘Hidden Harm' as early as possible.
In a statement yesterday, (Tuesday), the organisation's service manager, Bernadette McHugh, said it was with ‘deep regret and heavy hearts’ that they announced the closure.
"Over the past 23 years Breakthru has supported those in crisis and some of the most vulnerable in the community through services for drug, alcohol, gambling and mental health issues.
Full story in this week's Tyrone Constitution...