A new partnership aimed at supporting young people in crisis across the area has been laumched in Ballymena .
Charity Extern has joined with Fairhill Shopping Centre in Ballymena to promote the new ‘Havens of Hope’ partnership.
The project will be officially launched at Fairhill on Saturday, July 30th, where staff from the charity will be on hand to share more information about its work with young people, as well as to promote greater awareness of its mental health and wellbeing services across the wider Ballymena and Co Antrim areas.
Extern currently supports hundreds of young people through its five Safe Haven respite centres across the island of Ireland.
These include Kinnahalla Youth Village, located in the Mourne Mountains in Co Down, which alone welcomes over 170 young people from the Northern Health Trust area every year. Children visiting Kinnahalla can avail of a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities aimed at allowing them to experience fun and friendship whilst also receiving support to cope with the challenges they may face at home.
The charity also offers a local Haven of Hope to those who may be facing problem drug and alcohol use through its Step2 and Low Threshold services.
Based on Bridge Street in Ballymena, these offer community-based intervention services for adults and family members who are managing issues with addiction.
Throughout the month of August, Extern will also be urging the public to donate ‘Back to School’ items for young people through special ‘drop-off’ bins at Fairhill. Items include everyday essentials such as backpacks, pencil cases and notebooks, which many families may struggle to afford.
Natalie Jackson, Centre Manager at Fairhill Shopping Centre, said: “We are delighted to support Extern as our charity partner. Extern is a well-known and highly respected charity that provides much needed support for young people and families in crisis across Northern Ireland.
“We are excited to help promote the great work Extern does and we are looking forward to the next 12 months; we have lots of fundraising and awareness events intended for our customers who we hope will get on board to help raise much needed funds for our Charity of the Year.”
Grace O’Neill, Fundraising Manager with Extern, said: “We are excited to welcome Fairhill Shopping Centre as our new charity partner for the coming year.
“Fairhill is one of the most recognisable and respected retail names, not only in the Ballymena area but across Northern Ireland as a whole, and having the support of staff and shoppers within the centre will provide a massive boost to our fundraising and awareness activities.
“As one of the leading providers of family support and mental health and wellbeing services across Northern Ireland, we in Extern have seen a greater need among the public recently both in response to the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis.
“That’s why having the support of the Ballymena public through the funds they donate or raise for us is vital to ensuring we are able to continue our life-changing work and make a difference to a young person’s life.
“We look forward to meeting shoppers and visitors at the centre next Saturday where they can find out more about how they can help support our work. We would like to thank Fairhill once again for supporting us with this important work and we look forward to a very positive partnership in the year ahead!”
To find out more about Extern’s projects in the Co Antrim area, and beyond, please visit www.extern.org, tel: 028 90840555, or follow us on social media @Extern_Charity