Down and Ards & North Down LPGs Fortnightly News October 2019

Welcome to the 1st edition of our information bulletin. Fortnightly News is a E-newsletter to promote services, events & programmes, which aim to improve outcomes for children and young people in your local area. Please also feel free to share the attached information with those who might be interested in the details contained and, as always, your feedback is much appreciated.

Fortnightly News Issue 1 October 2019

Downpatrick Back to School Uniform Re-cycling Event

The Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership Down Locality Planning Group are hosting an event to support families in the Downpatrick area to get ready for school.

If you have school uniforms and accessories that are clean and in good condition please donate your items to the Back to School Uniform Project

 Let’s work together and find these clothes a good home!

Download a copy of the flyer here.




SERC launches course to help tackle youth unemployment

South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has launched a course aimed at 16-24-year olds who are not in employment, education or training (NEET), thanks to funding from the European Social Fund.

College Connect is a one-year mentor led programme which provides participants the opportunity to undertake a Level 1 qualification with the aim of progressing into Further Education (FE) or employment. Participants over 18 years old in receipt of Job Seekers allowance will be allowed to retain their benefit for the duration of the programme.

The course will commence on 7 January 2019 and participants will have a personal mentor to help and support them throughout the qualification.

The course will cover modules such as Literacy, Numeracy, Teamwork Skills, Exploring Employment Opportunities as well as the opportunity to take part in a Vocational Taster course in Hospitality and Catering covering modules including: Food and Drink Service, Tea and Coffee Counter Service and Food Preparation and Cooking.

There are no formal qualifications required but applicants should have a passion for the area of work they have chosen.

On successful completion of the course, students can expect to be more employable thanks to enhanced personal development skills, valuable hands on experience, improved interview experience, CV writing ability and a vocational qualification.

If you would like to apply for College Connect, please call Barbara McNeill on 0345 600 7555, email or call into the Downpatrick Campus reception.


Smoke Free Homes Initiative launched in Downpatrick

Smoke Free homes, an exciting harm reduction concept, is now being launched in the Downpatrick area. Its primary aim is to improve the health of local families, by encouraging people not to smoke in the home. As most people are now aware, tobacco smoke is one of the greatest single causes of disease and illness in our community, accounting for 6 deaths a day in NI (PHA tobacco control 2015). However, the facts around second hand smoke and its detrimental effects are perhaps not so well known, with children and vulnerable adults being put at most risk.

For example:

  • Children are more likely to suffer from asthma, respiratory infections & glue ear as their lungs are more delicate and still developing.
  • Second-hand smoke also accounts for an increase in Sudden Infant Death/Cot death.
  • Children whose parents smoke are 90% more likely to smoke themselves.
  • Increased burden on the NHS
  • Fire safety implications in the home.


Smokefree homes is a simple message that gives families the knowledge and tools to make healthier choices. It is achievable for everyone, especially those who are not yet ready to stop smoking, however it often becomes a stepping stone to quitting. Community workers will also be trained to provide carbon monoxide readings. An awareness of your carbon monoxide level, helps you to make informed choices about your own health.

This project has been led by health development in South Eastern Health and Social Care Turst, and made possible by the support of CYPSP Down LPG, Down Sure Start, Bryson, Barnardo’s & Cancer Focus.


Contact Us:

If you would like more information regarding ‘Smoke-free Homes’ please contact Cathy or Lisa on; 02892501376.


Local South Eastern Regional College Open Evening


South Eastern Regional College (SERC) is preparing to host its annual part-time open evening at the Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn and Newtownards Campuses on Wednesday 29 August from 4pm to 8pm. The event will be an opportunity for prospective learners to learn about the range of courses on offer and talk to the tutors.

The event has been organised by SERC to help and support the local community re-engage in education and training. Tutors from a range of courses such as Essential Skills, Restart Education, Access to University and many others will be available on the night.


SERC Restart Education Programme

SERCs Restart Education programme allows learners to get a solid foundation of knowledge in a positive learning environment that is inviting and supportive. It has been designed for those who have been out of education more than one year. Learners will work towards a level 2 OCN qualification in further study skills covering Maths, literacy, science and social science alongside personal skill building, exploring career options and planning the next step in education.


Access to University Course

The Access to University course is aimed at giving adults, particularly those that left school early in life or those that have been away from full-time education for two years or more, the opportunity to return and progress to university. Accredited by Queen’s University Belfast, the certificate provides a good grounding in the knowledge and study skills needed to succeed in higher education. It is equivalent to A levels but is designed and delivered with adult returners in mind.


SERC Careers Team – Here to Help

SERC’s careers team will be on hand to offer free impartial advice to those unsure of which course to choose. Student finance and learning support will also be in attendance.

For anyone considering returning to education, Neil McTeer from Newcastle, is a great example of the rewards that can be gained from going back to the books!


Having been away from education for nearly 15 years, Neil returned and successfully completed the Restart programme at SERC and applied for a social work degree at university. During his three years at SERC, Neil also completed his GCSE English and Math’s, adult literacy and numeracy and essential skills ICT. Neil said that although it was daunting coming back to education, everyone in the class helped each other.

Commenting on the course Neil explains: “The Restart course was my way of getting the confidence I needed to continue learning. I enrolled onto the course to follow my ambition and it’s the best decision I ever made! I would recommend the course to anyone considering returning to education.”


SERC Downpatrick Campus Manager Paul Walsh explains: “We are delighted to be hosting this event to open people’s minds to the huge opportunities that exist within the College. The event is designed to promote the benefits of returning to education and the support mechanisms that SERC offer to help overcome barriers to education that people may face. I would urge the local community to attend the event to see for themselves what is on offer.”


Contact Us

For more information, please visit the open day between 4pm and 8pm at all of SERC’s main Campus on Wednesday 29 August, visit or find us on Facebook, search: SERC.