Derek Devoy, Taxi Watch pictured with Cllr Andrew McGuinness
A leading car manufacturer has backed TaxiWatch, a suicide prevention initiative, aiming to help save lives and founded by Kilkenny man, Derek Devoy.
Developed in November 2014, the service came about after the Kilkenny taxi driver saved three people from taking their own lives in Kilkenny City. Since then, over 200 people have been aided through the programme in Kilkenny alone.
TaxiWatch receives hundreds of messages from people in crisis looking for help on a weekly basis. Working closely with charities in Ireland including; Pieta House, Samaritans Ireland, Teac Tom and others, TaxiWatch signposts people to charities who provide free counselling and listening services.
With 1,127 drivers currently signed up to TaxiWatch across Ireland and Northern Ireland, the primary aim for the initiative is now to increase members. This involves getting as many taxi drivers as possible signed up and trained in the safeTALK suicide awareness course across Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. SafeTALK provides drivers with the skills to recognise people who may be in distress and need help. An additional aspect includes upskilling drivers in what to say and how to keep people safe until professional help arrives.
TaxiWatch also travels to schools, colleges and workplaces where founder Derek Devoy tells his own life experience story of his personal depression, including suicide attempts and how he overcame his own crisis. Derek has also had huge success with his award-winning film documentary 'Throwline' which has and is still winning awards at film festivals throughout the world. Derek has also signed a contract for a movie with Octogon Films which starts filming in February 2019.
Speaking of the partnership, Derek Devoy of TaxiWatch said, “We cannot thank Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland enough for providing us with a brand-new Volkswagen Caddy Life. This will ultimately help us save lives. It will give us an additional resource to travel the length and breadth of Ireland and the UK raising the awareness of TaxiWatch, recruiting new members and also helping us deliver our talks to thousands of students.
We are delighted to announce our new partnership with @taxiwatchirl Derek collected his new Caddy Life this morning. Wishing him and his team all the best and we look forward to working with them to help make a difference #SuicidePrevention #TaxiWatch #SavingLives pic.twitter.com/N8TG1CXnDb— Volkswagen Vans IE (@VolkswagenVanIE) June 29, 2018
Alan Bateson, Managing Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles commented, “This morning we handed over the keys of a new Caddy Life to Derek to support his amazing work and also to support this idea from one of our most important customer groups, taxi drivers. Mental health and well-being in today’s society is incredibly important and Derek’s story is one that truly inspired us. We wish Derek and TaxiWatch continued success and look forward to working with them to help make a real and lasting difference”.
Fianna Fáil councillor Andrew McGuinness commended Derek Devoy and all those involved in Taxi Watch for their work in promoting a positive attitude towards mental well-being.
"I'm delighted to see the great work of Derek Devoy and all of the taxi drivers at Taxi Watch being supported and encouraged with this generous donation from VW Ireland. The work of those local drivers, who go above and beyond their call of duty, is truly special and we are very lucky to have them in our community, keeping a kind and watchful eye over those who are at their most vulnerable," said Cllr. Andrew McGuinness.