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By Una Murphy CELEBRATE local unsung heroes who give up their time freely to help people living in Poleglass, Twinbrook, Lagmore and Kilwee in west Belfast.  Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, an award-winning community group is organising volunteer awards.  The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 20. Gemma McCaughley-Burns, a volunteer development worker, said that more than 300 people volunteer in Colin. She said: “The aim of the awards is to provide recognition to those people who give up their time to support the Colin community and achieve positive change. “Volunteers do not need to be a resident of the Colin community but the work or voluntary service they…

The Northern Ireland Mental Health Film and Arts Festival 2016 was recently launched at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast. The theme for 2016 is ‘Tackling Stigma One Conversation at a Time’ The event took the format of a walk from the entrance to Stormont Estate to the steps at Parliament Buildings. The participants held flags and banners with designs by service users from Holywell Hospital and Praxis Care Portadown, facilitated by local artist Ciara O’Malley and the Art and Soul Foundation. Everyone signed up to a pledge to tackle stigma of mental health by continuing the conversations in their workplace, community…

By Lauri McCUSKER, director of the Fermanagh Trust Spending time with the local community association in Easterhouse on the outskirts of Glasgow in 1998 when the heroin crisis was at its height I learnt two valuable lessons; Firstly, local communities themselves are integral to tackling health inequalities and secondly; to achieve real change communities require access to long term resources which are not bogged down in officialdom and red tape. Six years later back home in Fermanagh I was privileged to lead on a significant health and wellbeing project in the Devenish area of Enniskillen which put communities at the…

Have your ‘bras’ at the ready as Belfast prepares to turn pink for the return of The Bra Walk. Action Cancer’s 10k walk is taking place on Friday, June 3, in aid of the charity’s life-saving breast screening service. Now in its second year, The Bra Walk is once again proudly sponsored by SuperValu and will begin at Belfast City Hall at 7pm. Action Cancer is encouraging men, women and children of all ages to take part in the fun-filled family event, helping to raise awareness of breast cancer and funds for the charity. It is anticipated that more than…

Image: Liam McDonald, Alpha Resource Management, left, with Paula Quigley, CEO Groundwork NI and Junior Minister Jennifer McCann A LOCAL funding initiative based within the Greater Belfast and Lisburn areas is marking an investment of over £3.3m to a range of projects, which focus on enriching local communities. The Alpha Programme was launched in 2008 by Alpha Resource Management, a dedicated waste management and green energy company based at Mullaghglass, a Lagan Group Company. The programme was created to provide a means to allocate funding through the Landfill Tax Credits Scheme to local communities projects and environmental regeneration schemes. The…

A boxing club in Dundalk is tackling health and fitness issues among the Traveller community in a practical way By VIEW editor Brian Pelan IMAGES: Hannah Mitchell I walked into Dealgan club on a Wednesday night, and to use a boxing term, I was ‘knocked out’ by the sheer passion and fitness on display. To describe the atmosphere as buzzing would be a gross understatement. Former fighter Anthony Donnelly was 23 years of age when he started to coach the club. “I took over from Liam Moore in 1993,” said Anthony. “We gauge success by the number of names…

By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor Like the majority of us, I’ve been in a pharmacy, got my prescription and left. But recently, over a coffee in a Belfast hotel, I got to chat with a pharmacist for about an hour who not only preaches but practises the concept of community medicine. Gordon Pollock, who was born and raised in Bangor, and has lived there all his life, apart from a brief spell in London, is steeped in the world of pharmacies and medicine. He opened his shop, Pollock’s Pharmacy, on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast in 1984. “Originally I…

Image: Young residents of The Foyer, Simon Community, launching the “Without Doors” Project in Belfast alongside IKEA, Helm Housing, WheelWorks,and DCAL. Young people living in the Simon Community’s Belfast Foyer have launched an exciting project exploring youth homelessness in Northern Ireland, and of their experience of what it is like to be young and homeless. The young people, all aged between 18-21 years old, launched the project in their new look common room which was styled and furnished by IKEA Belfast alongside a short film which charts the journey of the project over the 10 weeks. The Without Doors project, which…

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has confirmed today that contracts between the agency and FASA to provide a range of services have now transferred to Extern. The contracts cover: Mental health and suicide prevention services: •       Family Support and Suicide Prevention Response Services (Belfast area) •       Crisis Response and Out-of-Hours Service (Belfast area) Drugs and alcohol services: •       Belfast Drug and Alcohol Coordination Team Connections Service (Belfast area) •       Community-based Step 2 Early Intervention Services for Adults and Family Members Affected by Substance Misuse (Northern area) Youth services (issues affecting young people aged from 11 to up to 25): •       One Stop…

As the new Expert Panel set up by Health Minister Simon Hamilton delivers its Working Principles for the Remodelling of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, panel member Dr Alan Stout, above, tells journalist Debbie Orme, how, when it comes to healthcare, the rest of Europe will be looking to us  for the way forward There’s no doubt that things are certainly moving in Northern Ireland healthcare at the moment. Indeed, it seemed that the ink on Simon Hamilton’s announcement of an Expert Panel to review the way forward for NI healthcare had hardly dried, than the said panel…

Image: Children taking part in the SPACEWALK programme, which improves their health, confidence and wellbeing A family support organisation based in Newry has won praise from mothers whose children take part in its projects. Supporting People and Communities Everyday (SPACE) was started in a small terraced house in Thomas Street, Warrenpoint, in 2003 after local people identified the need for family support throughout rural South Down. Jacinta Linden, Director of SPACE said: “We provide much-needed services and support to families struggling with life’s challenges.” SPACE co-ordinates the Newry Family Support Hub, which has a range of statutory and community sector partners…

Dr Iris Elliott, Head of Policy and Research, Mental Health Foundation, said: “We know a lot about how we can improve the mental health of individuals, families and communities. When we look at the sources of mental health – and distress, it is clear that a wide range of social and economic factors are at play. We need to consider mental health in all areas of public policy, service provision and everyday life. We advance mental health by ensuring that people have access to: an adequate standard of living, decent housing, a safe neighbourhood, educational opportunities, and good quality employment.…

Image: Simon Community chief executive Jim Dennison Simon Community chief executive Jim Dennison told a meeting in Belfast that “Government can end homelessness in the next five years”. Mr Dennison was addressing a Summit on Homelessness in Belfast which focused on developing a cross-cutting approach to ending homelessness in the next five years. The Summit, which was held in Grosvenor House, was chaired by former CEO of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Grainia Long, and featured long-time homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry as guest speaker. Mr Dennison said: “Homelessness is a growing problem Northern Ireland, and the recent deaths bring into sharp focus the need for…

Image: A Peace Wall on Crumlin Road, Belfast Peace and reconciliation projects in Northern Ireland and the Republic have received a welcome boost as the International Fund for Ireland committed £1.9 million towards 20 initiatives. The funding, approved at the organisation’s recent Board Meeting in Limavady, includes £381,000 for four new projects that will support vulnerable young people who are unable to access or remain in traditional education and training provision. More than £760,000 will be shared among nine PIP projects aimed at transforming marginalised communities; and a further £756,000 has been allocated to seven initiatives that are developing new dialogue on…

Image: Residents and council officials enjoying a Community Spirit day in Toome, Co Antrim By Brian Pelan An innovative health project has boosted the spirit of residents in Toome, Co Antrim. Jenny Hanna, Pathways to Health Project Manager for the Community Development Health Network, based in Newry, Co Down, said: “We were delighted to be asked to be facilitators in a project between Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and residents in Toome. “The council wanted us to work with a community project that used co-production as its basis. It’s public services and local community services working together. We do a programme…

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