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Dochas Centre - Annual Open Day

Exchange House attended Mountjoy Women’s prison, the Dochas centre’s annual open day on June 20th where a wide range of national and community organisations were invited into the prison to showcase each project’s current programmes and to open up lines of referral and engagement with the female prisoners.

There was a large turnout, with both agencies and prisoners mingling together over refreshments. Exchange House National Traveller Organisation got an opportunity to meet with other agencies who were interested in learning about the work that Exchange House does and also those who would be interested to work with Exchange House.

At the event Exchange House showcased the new ‘Travelling to Wellbeing Service’ which aims to reduce stigma around mental health and suicide within the Traveller community and to develop and support individualised recovery programmes with Travellers, to improve referral pathways and address inequalities. We also promoted the Sunia Geel 2. This project continues work on Domestic Violence within the Traveller Community and will focus on training, peer support and continue to provide group work with women, children and men. Sunia Geel 2 will also be offering direct counselling and family support services to victims of domestic violence.

At the opening day we also took the opportunity to promote the wide range of services offered by the Education, Youth and Family Support Department in Exchange House. The feedback we received was extremely positive. The open day provided a great opportunity for Exchange House to liaise with other service providers working in addiction and aftercare as well as accommodation providers, refuges, domestic violence service providers, education services and agencies working with the issues of sexual abuse and prostitution. There were a large number of agencies in attendance and we were all there to represent our organisations and to share information and learn about upcoming events or updates across the sector.

The Governor of Dochas was in attendance to meet with the women and to meet the organisations who attended. The Prison service ensured the whole event went extremely smoothly and we will look forward to attending another day in the future.

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