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A safe space for asylum seekers

There has been an extremely positive response from asylum seekers living in the Balseskin Reception Centre to the launch of JRS Ireland’s Fáilte Project. Just last month, the Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland (JRS Ireland) opened Seomra Fáilte there, a multi-purpose resource centre designed to create a safe space where newly arrived asylum seekers can relax and adapt to their new surroundings.

David Moriarty, Assistant Director, JRS Ireland explained that the range of services and activities available to residents has increased each week and families are using the custom designed relaxation space on a daily basis as they adjust to their new surroundings.

He also noted the importance of the active participation of the asylum seekers in their own welfare development. “Residents are playing an active role in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing by running their own activities and initiatives in Seomra Fáilte”.

The new installation hosts a weekly programme of information and training workshops to enhance the life-skills and capacities of residents.

Speaking at the unveiling of the centre last month, Áine Lambe, JRS Ireland’s Intercultural Project Worker said: “Today marks an important milestone in JRS Ireland’s efforts to promote and enhance the mental health and well-being of asylum seekers and the forcibly-displaced in Ireland”.

The Fáilte Project seeks to promote positive mental health through the provision of psycho-social education, information and advice and offers training opportunities to enhance wellbeing through the development of new skills.

Significant efforts have also been made to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment through the installation of a tranquility garden which offers a greater sense of space to persons adjusting to communal living conditions. “The Fáilte Project has the potential to positively impact on the lives of asylum seekers at a particularly vulnerable time,” according to Ms Lambe, “and JRS Ireland is extremely grateful to be working with partners in Balseskin and the Health Service Executive, as well as for the ongoing support from the Jesuit Province”.