Citizen Contributed – IN November 2011, Thomas and Margaret Coleman started the Irish Support Group based at Sandown Library.

The Irish support Group is a voluntary group who raise funds to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

After the death of Thomas’ brother, Joseph, and his close friend Michael in 2010 due to substance abuse, Thomas felt not enough was being done to help people who had problems with the authorities after several arrests for violent conduct and other anti social behaviour.

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Joseph had spent many years wandering the streets living homeless in London , Leicester and Nottingham.  Joseph, like Michael, an ex publican here upon the Island for many years, had severe social issues. Both had come from broken marriages leaving children behind.

After contacting the Irish government in 2009 concerned of his brothers treatment from the authorities, Thomas was informed that no Irish Nationals had sought help from the Government from the Isle of Wight. After many months on consultation with the mainland Irish federation, the ISG are now supported and acknowledged by the Irish Federation on the mainland.

Weekly meetings are held at St Patricks RC Church, Beachfield Road, Sandown on Wednesdays between 2pm and 4pm and all are welcome. Tea, coffee and cakes are provided. All islanders are welcome to discuss their issues, hopes and fears and will be supported by the group with any social welfare or housing issues that they may have.

Father PJ smith lets the group use the hall and we are all very grateful for his help.

Any one wishing to join the group or wish to know more contact Margaret or Tom Coleman on 07866650351.Many thanks.      

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