Ford announces Justice Champions

Date published: 03 March 2016

Justice Minister David Ford has announced Paul McCartney of First Housing Aid and Support Services in Derry as Justice Champion 2016.

David Ford pictured with Paul McCartney, winner of the Justice in the Community Awards
Paul McCartney of First Housing Aid and Support services wins Justice in Community Award

The Justice in the Community Awards recognise individuals and teams, voluntary workers and staff working within community and statutory organisations across Northern Ireland. 

Paul received the accolade of Justice Champion in recognition of his work assisting the most vulnerable and marginalised, including street drinkers and rough sleepers. He received £1,000 which will be used for his project to benefit the local community.

Speaking at a ceremony in Parliament Buildings, David Ford said: “These awards are an opportunity to pay tribute to the exceptional work that is going on within the heart of our community.  This is work that we hear so little about, by people who go the extra mile to make Northern Ireland a safer, better place for everyone.   

“That these awards are funded by the proceeds of assets seized from criminals makes it all the more satisfying.”  

The Minister also congratulated eight ‘highly commended’ award winners from across Northern Ireland.

On receiving his award, Paul McCartney described his work as humbling and said the prize money he had received would be put to good use to help those in greatest need.

Notes to editors: 

1.  Justice Minister David Ford launched the ‘Justice in the Community’ Awards on 22 December 2015.48 nominations were received and were considered by an independent judging panel consisting of Brendan McGuigan, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice, Una McKernan, Deputy Chief Executive of NICVA (Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action), Jim Smith, Project Supervisor for the Book Reserve and Thinking Cup Café – a social enterprise initiative providing employment to motivated young parents who have offended, and Karen Pearson of the Department of Justice.

2.  The overall ‘Justice Champion’ is:

Paul McCartney – First Housing Aid & Support Services

3.  ‘Highly commended’ nominations:

NIACRO RESET Mentoring Team

Elaine Morrow, Volunteer with the Youth Justice Agency

Danny Corr, Zanshin Karate Jutsu DoJo

Billy O’Flaherty, Carniny Amateur Football Club

Lorna Brown, Grainne Richards & Vicki Kearney, Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid

Constable Mark McGaritty, Police Service of Northern Ireland

Rory Doherty, Quaker Services

Mary Hogg, Cookstown Street Angels

4.  Each of the award winners received a commemorative crystal trophy.The overall Justice Champion received £1,000 to invest in equipment or services to benefit their local community.The awards are being funded this year with money from the Assets Recovery Community Scheme.

5.  Paul McCartney is the Night Support Services Manager with First Housing Aid & Support Services, Derry who regularly works with street drinkers and rough sleepers in the northwest.On a daily and nightly basis Paul and his team patrol the streets to ensure that the most vulnerable have shelter and food, effectively providing these individuals with an alternative to continuing to drink or remain on the streets where both they and members of the public are at risk of anti-social behaviour. Prior to the inception of the Night Support Services anti-social activity and associated related issues drained the resources of the police and emergency services.The service is driven by a multi-agency approach with the statutory agencies, business traders, homeless and hostel providers, in a real attempt to tackle the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized by assisting people off the streets and back to their accommodation, offering preventative responses from such issues as exploitation, risk of violence and prevention of crime.

6.  Media Enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 90526444.Out of office hours please contact the duty press office via pager number 079699 715440 and your call will be returned.

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