David Farrow

Social Witness

Thompson House, Belfast

Mission Reports

David Farrow is the Director of Thompson House in Belfast.

David commenced his employment in Thompson House in February 1990, is a qualified Social Worker and an Elder in Glengormley Presbyterian Church.

Thompson House works in partnership with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland.  It is a 19-bed  unit consisting of 15 en-suite bedrooms and 4 self-contained flats. The unit accommodates male ex-prisoners who have been released on licence to complete their sentences in the community.  The emphasis of the work is rehabilitation in a Christian setting.  A resident's stay can be for a period of up to one year.  

Staff encourage residents to address areas of difficulty which may have contributed to their offending behaviour. Residents are also encouraged to learn independent living skills to enable them to move on to alternative accommodation at the end of their period of residency. A Christianity Explored course is offered to residents.

Latest Report

July-August 2017

A privilege to share the gospel  

Thompson House is a hostel for men caught up in the criminal justice system, which is managed by PCI. At full capacity it accommodates 19 men, the majority are released prisoners on licence, supervised by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland.

The present hostel on the Antrim Road, Belfast has been open since 1984. It has recently been refurbished in partnership with Helm Housing with four new one-bedroom apartments added to the building.

The main aims of the hostel are to provide suitable accommodation for male offenders; to help residents find and retain employment; to encourage and assist residents to establish their own homes; and to commend the Christian faith and way of life in an open and accepting manner.

Thompson House has a joint management agreement with Radius Housing Association. They provide and maintain the physical accommodation, we provide the necessary supervision and support to the resident group. The accommodation comprises of 15 en-suite bedrooms and four apartments. The apartments allow the residents to experience living in their own one-bedroom flat, where they have to cook all their own meals, pay their own bills and budget on a daily basis.

Each resident is allocated a key worker from the staff team, whose role is to assist the resident to identify any problem areas and help them find ways of addressing any of these.

Since the ceasefire we have noticed an increase in drug problems among the younger residents. In a recent survey of our resident group we discovered that over 80% had problems with drugs and/or alcohol.

We encourage residents to attend Alcohol Anonymous and, when appropriate, Carlisle House – the residential unit also managed by PCI. In Carlisle House the residents are able to participate in a programme of individual and group work where they explore the reasons behind their addictive behaviour; all in a supportive Christian environment.

Many residents also have problems with anger management. This leads them into difficult situations in which they feel the only way out is violence or to offend to prevent loss of face in front of their friends.

When exploring the reasons for anger amongst residents, low self-esteem and abuse by parents can be uncovered. The residents’ file indicate that a large proportion have suffered neglect, physical and sexual abuse as children, leaving them angry and confused – hardly surprising they become involved in illegal activities and open to taking addictive substances.

It is quite often against this background that we try to share the love of Christ. The vast majority of residents do not have any church connections at all, though they may nominally subscribe to a church.

It’s a great privilege, therefore, to be able to work with residents and have the opportunity to share the gospel with them. On a voluntary basis we offer Christianity and Life Explored courses for residents to attend. Normally we find that five or six residents attend ach group session and participate fully in the full group programme. Gideons Bibles are provided in each bedroom, along with UCB Bible notes. We find that these bring about conversations with residents who want to understand what they are reading.  

General Prayer Points

  • That staff facilitating the Christian Explored course will continue to communicate the Gospel effectively with boldness and sensitivity.
  • For protection for staff on a daily basis as they can encounter challenging behaviour from residents.
  • We read in 1st Corinthians 13:  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Pray that staff will embody this portion of Scripture in every encounter they have with residents.

To download a printable PDF of this bulletin visit the Mission Reports listing at the top.

Contact Details: Thompson House
426-428 Antrim Road
BT15 5GA

Tel: 028 9077 6765
Fax: 028 9077 2441

Email: dfarrow@pcibsw.org


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