Alice Leahy with the Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin T.D. (Centre) and Norma McDermott, Director of the Library Council, the first organisation that will participate in the TRUST training programme.

The Minister for Education Mary Hanafin T.D. today (Tuesday, 18 July, 2006) launched a special initiative by TRUST to help personnel who come into contact on a daily basis with those who find themselves outsiders in Irish society. Devised as part of TRUST’s national awareness project ‘Building Trust in the Community’ it is a National Training Seminar Programme which aims to help people from the local librarian to a member of the Gardai to better assist those at risk and with whom they may come into contact everyday.

ALICE LEAHY in welcoming the Library Council as the first organisation to host a seminar under this programme said that it was highly appropriate as library staff in all of the country’s public libraries have often been at the forefront in making space and providing a welcome for the outsider.

“We are well aware of the wonderful work many frontline personnel are doing in many different areas. However, we are equally well aware that a little sensitivity and a thoughtful intervention at a critical moment by someone in a position to make a difference could for example even prevent someone becoming homeless,” ALICE LEAHY, Director and Co-Founder of TRUST said describing this latest initiative as an attempt to respond to the many requests from people in many of the front line services about how they can do more especially for those who are homeless on the street.

This initiative also marks the final phase of the national project “Building Trust in the Community” which was initially very much geared towards the general public and involved the distribution of a DVD, copies of which have now also been made available throughout the public library network.

“In this final stage we are seeking to respond to the many people in frontline jobs who are in a position and want to make a difference for the outsider. We have been very heartened by the response and are especially delighted that the first Training Seminar will be organised for people working in our public libraries who have already proved highly supportive,” ALICE LEAHY said.

Norma McDermott, Director of the Library Council said:
“We are delighted to work with TRUST in supporting this project as we are responding to the real awareness and interest amongst local authority library staff in all public libraries who are committed to making their libraries very welcoming places for everyone”.

TRUST National Training Seminar Programme

TRUST first began hosting seminars for Social Workers, Gardai, Prison Officers and others in front line positions that come into contact with people who are homeless a number of years ago. However, given the response to ‘Building Trust in the Community’ it was decided to develop a new version of the Seminar Programme as people who come into contact with those who society has deemed outsiders wanted something more professionally orientated as many were in a position to make helpful interventions to assist those at risk but were often afraid to do so. Indeed, often just basic information about services available and who to contact could sometimes prove decisive in helping to prevent someone from becoming homeless.

“This project initiative could prove highly successful and make a very big difference in the lives of many people if more of those in a position to help others are just given the requisite knowledge and are encouraged to use it,” ALICE LEAHY said.