Mid and East Antrim Council launch ‘Little Free Toybox’ at People’s Park, first for the Borough

The concept of a ‘Little Free Toybox’ is simple – a passer by can lift a toy to play with or leave a toy for someone else.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey, said “I am delighted to see the first ‘Little Free Toy Box’ in the Borough installed at People’s Park and pupils from Ballymena Primary already enjoying it. This is will be a great addition to the park and the wider community.

I hope it will provide children and young people with more play resources and the opportunity to play, relax and reconnect with others after what has been a difficult year for everyone. The Toybox can also encourage sharing and creative, imaginative play, as well as potentially going some way to help reduce waste going to landfill as toys are essentially being recycled.

I’d like to extend my thanks to the Antrim Ballymena CYPSP who funded the project and Council Officers, CYPSP,  and Northern Trust Health and Wellbeing Team, who co-ordinated the project, with support from a local artist and Ballymena Primary School.”

Lynsey McVitty, from the Northern Trust said “This toy box is a great example of the ‘Take 5’ steps to Wellbeing. Installed in a local park the toy box gives users a chance to connect with the natural environment and other park users. It encourages children to get involved in play, by picking up a new toy, all the while giving and supplying the local community access to toys and new play opportunities. We were delighted to work with Council on this creative initiative and to see it so well used already.”

Parents/guardians are responsible for supervising children when using the Little Free Toy Box and for appropriate sanitation before and afterwards.

Growing a Healthy, Positive Me among 200 local school children

Children transitioning from primary to secondary school have been learning how to support their own well-being through an initiative delivered through a collaboration of local partner agencies, including leading mental health charity, Action Mental Health.

The move to ‘big school’ can often present many challenges for children, and in response, the Larne and Carrickfergus Locality Planning Group (LPG), part of the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership (CYPSP) and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT), offered the mental health promotion project to P7 pupils in the Larne and Carrickfergus areas.

The project, ‘Growing a Healthy, Positive Me,’ is based on Action Mental Health’s Healthy Me programme, which promotes well-being across Northern Ireland’s primary schools and raises awareness of mental health issues among children, their teachers, parents and key contacts.

The initiative aims to improve outcomes for children, young people and families in the area, with mental and emotional well-being identified as a priority.

Action Mental Health’s MensSana teams delivered 30 minute, bitesize ‘Healthy Me’ sessions to P7 classes, online, while they were homeschooling. The sessions led children through the principles of the Five Ways to Well-Being, which are key steps designed to promote overall well-being, and reached almost 200 pupils in nine schools.

The sessions were followed up with an arts and crafts project, in which pupils were asked to design a ‘Tree of Strength’. The Tree of Strength helped to reinforce the positive messages of the online sessions and prompted children to reflect on their own, individual strengths. It also helped to illustrate positive strategies children can use to cope with the challenges they may face in future.

 

The completed pieces of art were then entered into a competition for a chance to win a monetary prize sponsored by the Larne and Carrickfergus LPG which could be used to purchase Health and Well-Being resources for their schools.

The ‘Growing a Healthy Positive Me’ programme was evaluated as making a very positive impact on the children, who rated it as ‘very good’. One pupil said: “I loved taking time to think about all of the things I can do and the people I can talk to, to help me feel positive about myself and reduce my anxiety.’

A teacher also commented: “The webinar was interactive and very well thought out. Children really loved discussing and drawing the Tree of Strength. It is so relevant during these difficult times of lockdown.’

Kate McDermott, Health & Wellbeing Manager, Northern Health & Social Care Trust commented: “This is a very positive and welcoming initiative aimed at children transitioning from primary to secondary school during these challenging times. It reflects the responses from the Northern Area Parents, Children and Young People Survey 2020 which highlighted the need to address emotional health and resilience of children and young people at a local level”.

 

Karen Hillis, Service Manager with AMH MensSana commented: “The Growing a Healthy, Positive Me’ was a great initiative for Action Mental Health to be a part of, and it was an excellent example of collaborative working between the partner agencies of the Larne and Carrickfergus Locality Planning Group, Action Mental Health as well as all the schools and children involved.”

Baby Basics – Antrim and Newtownabbey

 

Baby Basics is a volunteer-led project aiming to support new mothers and families who are struggling to meet the financial and practical burden of looking after a new baby. We provide much needed essentials and equipment to mothers and families who are unable to provide these items for themselves; including but not limited to teenage mums, people seeking asylum and women fleeing domestic abuse and trafficking.

We operate on a referral only system. Working with midwives, health visitors and other professional groups to provide support directly where it is most needed, Baby Basics volunteers collect, sort and package a ‘Moses Basket’ of clothing, toiletries and essential baby equipment as an attractive gift to new mothers.

The Antrim and Newtownabbey branch of Baby Basics is operated by the United Parish of Christ Church (Ballynure) and St John’s (Ballyclare).  Our base is in Christ Church hall in Ballynure.

If you would like further information on this service, please contact Frances Wilson on 07834 544802.

ADHD workshops for Parents & Professionals – Northern Area

The Northern area CYPSP are delighted to have partnered up with the Changing Lives Initiative to be able to offer these workshops for both parents and professionals.

The parent workshop is aimed at families of children aged 3 -11 years of age, who may be displaying behaviours consistent with ADHD.  It is a 2 hour workshop which looks at ADHD  and strategies that may help families manage these types of behaviours.  Many families that have engaged with the project to date are struggling with the behaviours, and their child may too young for a referral or may be on the waiting list for assessment. We are delighted to offer 2 dates for parents: Tuesday 19th Jan 10am-12noon or Wednesday 20th January 6pm-8pm (please see attached). For parents who are interested in attending please ensure they complete the attached parents registration form and return directly to Shauneen at shauneen@newcolin.com or changinglives@newcolin.com

Changing Lives Parents Registration form 

Please also find attached flyer for any Practitioners working with children who may be interested in attending (Practitioners don’t need to complete the registration form just get in touch directly with Shauneen at: shauneen@newcolin.com

CLI Professional ADHD workshops CNP flyer

Locality Planning Group Members Survey

 

As many of you will be aware in 2018 CYPSP started to carry out the first survey of our Locality Planning Group members, with the plan to make it a biennial survey. The response to 2018 survey was fantastic, and gave us lots of feedback on the LPG process, which the members of the Partnership and Outcomes Group found really useful. The info graphics of the responses are available on the website .

We had hoped to carry out this year’s survey in March but with the circumstances at the time decided it was best to hold it back until now.

It would be great if you could spare a few minutes out of your time to click on the link below and complete the survey. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VYYF7F7

The survey will be open until 26 August.

If you have any queries about the survey or have any issues with the link please do not hesitate to get in contact with una.casey@hscni.net