Down and Ards & North Down LPGs Fortnightly News

Welcome to the 24th edition of Down and Ards & North Down LPGs Fortnightly News.

This edition shares information to improve the outcomes for Children and Young People. 

As we adjust to the impact of the coronavirus this edition has information and links, changes to service delivery and managing Covid-19 for you to share.

Fortnightly News Issue 24 – July 2020

Family Support Hubs Newsletter – 3 July 2020

This week’s Family Support Hub Newsletter (which has now moved to fortnightly) is attached and available to download at  

The focus on this occasion is on early years with links to all the Surestarts  and preparing children for school.

There are contacts for school uniforms , projects for young people and those with disabilities .

At present there are a lot of concerns around families` ability to cope financially so  I have included supports around financial advice.

Also in this edition you will find mental health advice including bereavement support as well as a lot of other helpful information.

Please remember there are links to further information within the flyers and a click will take you through to further details.

This week`s Good News Story features the tremendous work undertaken by the Family Support Hub in Lower North Belfast  co-ordinated by  Edith McManus.

It is great to see the private sector, in this instance,  Belfast Harbour making generous donations to the work with children and families.

 If you would like your Good News story to be included in further editions please let me know.

Also if there are particular issues you would us to include or you can provide feedback about the Newsletter we are always glad to hear from you.

Previous editions of the newsletter are available at  under Family Support Bi-monthly Newsletter section.


Transform your Future with a Part-time Course at SERC

A former student of South Eastern Regional College (SERC) about to embark on a second career, is urging others to apply for a part time course, online at,  and take the first step in transforming their future by returning to education.

Bangor woman Shirley McCracken (53), worked for 24 years at both the Belfast Waterfront Hall and the Ulster Hall in conference and events, before deciding on a career change. After researching her options, last year she enrolled at SERC to pursue a new role as a classroom assistant.   Shirley said, “I enjoyed working in the business tourism sector, but I felt I was ready for a change and a new challenge.  My family commitments were changing, and I wanted to do something new.  I had worked part-time since having my family and now that my children were more independent, I knew the time was right for me to make the change.

“I have always loved that period when my own children were little and at school – that time with children is very precious. So based on my own personal experience, I thought the role of classroom assistant would be a good change of direction for me. I secured a placement at Ballyholme Primary School and enrolled on the Level 3 Certificate for Classroom Assistants in SERC’s Bangor Campus and it turned out to be the best decision. As and adult returner, the whole experience was fantastic.   It was great meeting new people and the interaction in the class supported everyone’s learning.  My tutor was extremely knowledgeable, supportive and helpful and I often wondered how I would have managed without her input. My placement proved invaluable in providing that essential hands-on experience along with guidance and support in the school setting.

She added, “During the course I also developed a particular interest in special educational needs and in the second term,  I enrolled on the OCN Level 3 Award in Working with Children and Young People with Special Needs, also at SERC.  The course provided me with further insight and learning in this area and complemented what was being covered on the Classroom Assistants course.   

Shirley concluded, “I would highly recommend coming to SERC for anyone wishing to gain these qualifications.   I thoroughly enjoyed both courses. I am excited to be taking up a post as classroom assistant in September.  And as for anyone thinking of returning to education to try something new, I would say, go for it.   It is a new challenge but hopefully, like me, you will find it invigorating.”

Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive at SERC said, “There has never been a more important time for people to think about enrolling on a part-time course.   This could be the first step for someone retraining to change career or get on the job ladder; upskilling to boost their promotion prospects; getting back into education or simply taking on a leisure course to learn a new skill or develop a hobby. Whether you are currently working, furloughed, unemployed, retired or have been raising your family, if you are thinking of returning to education there is something for everyone here at SERC.

He added, “We offer a range of options to make sure your part-time study is flexible and cost effective. Our students tell us that their courses are both time and money well spent, so we encourage you take that first step and see how a course at SERC can help you transform your future.”

Apply now for courses commencing September 2020. For more information visit to find out how you could be #BetterOffAtSERC #OnlineAndOpenForBusiness Find us on Facebook, search SERC.

Looking for a Suitable Venue?

Due to support services wanting to introduce new social distancing services CYPSP have developed a new resource to help individuals/groups source suitable venues and to help navigate processes.  The searchable database currently covers the SHSCT area and can be accessed at  If you would like to add venue to this resource email us at and we will send you out a form to complete.


Southern Area LPGs FYI Newsletter 25th June 2020

Welcome to Issue 38 of ‘FYI’.

We have recently met all of our Locality Planning Groups online and it’s been great to hear of the fantastic work being carried out across the Southern Trust area to support children, young people and their families through these ongoing challenging times.

We are keen to hear of forthcoming summer activities in local areas and will be delighted to share these. If you are planning any summer programmes or events, please let us know, so that we can include related details in our next edition, which will be circulated on Thursday 9th July 2020. (There is guidance on the final page of today’s newsletter as to how best to submit your information.)

In the meantime, stay safe and stay connected!

Kind Regards,

Southern Area Locality Planning Team

#SupportingFamilies #CYPSP #ChildreninNI #HereForYou