President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins officially opens Sophia Housing in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins attended a special reception to officially open Sophia Housing’s Limeview Tubbercurry project on Wednesday 22nd October 2014. Declan Dunne, CEO, Sophia Housing and Jean Quinn, founder of Sophia, along with Limeview residents, welcomed The President and Sabina Higgins to Tubbercurry and gave them a guided tour of the project.

Sophia Housing provides accommodation and support services in Tubbercurry and also in Sligo Town. The Tubbercurry development provides 56 accommodation units; Lime Walk has 24 units and Limeview comprises of 32 apartments. Sophia Housing also provides housing for people with an intellectual disability in Cairns Hill and Ballincar in Sligo and works closely with Wisdom Services at Cregg House.

Limeview was originally the Marist Convent in Tubbercurry, which operated as the main Secondary School with boarding facilities for the local and surrounding areas from 1914 up until 2002. Sophia Housing now occupies this wonderful building and offers accommodation and support services to people at risk of being out of home.

This would not have been possible without the very generous gift of the site and convent by the Marist sisters, and a substantial grant from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government supported by Sligo County Council for the housing provided. Sophia is also supported by the HSE in Sligo, which is greatly appreciated. The plan is to incorporate quality support and community resources for both the tenants of Sophia and clients of Sligo County Council, and the HSE.

President Higgins also viewed the new state-of-the-art multi sensory room, equipment for which was procured thanks to funds donated by the staff of Investec Bank. The room will be used by Sophia’s residents of the purpose built housing units, for a variety of therapies. Such facilities are scarce in the North West of Ireland and therefore, not only will residents of Sophia Housing benefit, but the HSE have indicated their interest in leasing the room to cater for children and adults throughout the region. The room has been equipped with specialist audio visual and sensory equipment, such as special cushions and padding, mirrors, an aromatherapy kit and diffuser, fibre optics and an LED projector to name but a few.

Declan Dunne, CEO, Sophia Housing said, “We are delighted to welcome President Higgins here today and to show him the services we provide to those at risk of becoming homeless in both Tubbercurry and indeed throughout Sligo county.

“Sophia Housing is committed to helping these families and individuals to address the underlying issues that contributed to them finding themselves homeless and at risk of being homeless. Sophia can inspire change from within and end their homelessness permanently by empowering people to address the challenges they face and to live independently. No one wants to be dependent on others and certainly not dependent on charity.

“The people we support deserve the dignity every citizen has a right to. They are willing to make the huge effort required to tackle the challenges they face to become independent, to get a job, to actively contribute to society however they cannot do it without our support. Supported housing works to help people address very complex needs and our qualified social care staff provide support to a detailed care plan based on an individual needs analysis and a key worker.”

Sophia provides 241 housing units across the country with an annual budget of €3.5 million. Thousands of people have graduated to independent living having lived in these units at one time.