Glenmona Resource Centre on the Glen Road in West Belfast is set to become a sanctuary of safety for child victims of human trafficking. The children who are under the care of social services will be nourished and given allowances for clothing and entertainment – a lifestyle previously denied to them.
Some of the children who are expected to move in next week are reported to originate from as far away as Sierra Leone and Eastern Europe. They may have been exposed to violent crime and can expect to avail of social work support, interpreters and counsellors.
Set in the picturesque Belfast Hills, Glenmona has been agreed as a location by the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust and the Youth Justice Agency. It is anticipated that the Glenmona children will be able to integrate into the West Belfast community safely.
It is not a secure unit and staff have no powers to detain young people.
Up to 32 children who are in residential care or have been rescued by the PSNI in operations involving raids on brothels and houses suspected to be involved in people trafficking will be housed there.
Renamed Glenmona, the former St Patrick’s Training School is being investigated for historic alleged sex abuse on boys by Christian Brothers employed by the previous owners – De La Salle Order.
Glenmona is comprised of four separately registered Voluntary Children’s Homes: Slemish House, Donard House, Aisling House and Aran House. Each house provides specialist residential care for children aged 10-17 years who are referred by a Health and Social Services Trust under a voluntary arrangement or a Care Order. All the children have suffered or are at risk of suffering significant harm and require specialist help and support to promote their development.
The area around Glenmona which is included in the plans for The Glen 10 or Ard na Gleanna as it will be known is estimated to house up to 600 families in a new urban village. When completed – it will link onto Turf Lodge, the already completed Caffrey Hill and stretch as far as Hannastown. The urban village will have shops, childcare facilities and a mixture of private and social housing.