Led by You Blog
Led by You amit and shannonhelps young people get involved, have their say and provide opportunities to influence how we do things at MACS. The difficult task of trying to top previous blogs created by our very fun and witty Robyn has been given to the new students in Led by You, Shannon and Amit… let the games begin!

We began our student placements on the 17 October, only 3 weeks ago and already we feel like part of the furniture! We have a lot of exciting ideas for our time during placement, which we would like to tell you all, so hold on to your socks!

Our ideas include:  4 week drop in service; MACS avenger’s art project; MACS talks back event; Money for Life project; and an art project tackling stereotypes. Information on these projects will be available in the coming weeks, so keep your ears peeled.

Funding News

Sorry (not sorry) to start with money but we have FANTASTIC news! Led by You has been shortlisted for the Ulster Bank Skills and Opportunity Fund and we are delighted! We really REALLY need people to vote, so please vote for us and encourage other people to vote. Led by You really benefits from small funds such as this, so we would be very grateful if people could vote and share the link below with family and friends. Remember, every vote counts – we wouldn’t want a trump situation again now would we?

Vote Now

Whilst on the topic of funding, Led by You has also got through to the next stage of the Together Building United Communities Fund – how exciting! What’s even more exciting is that Trevor gets to expand on the funding application with a detailed plan. Watch this space – what’s coming is going to be epic!

MACS SingersAlso, Led By You will be working with the MACS Singers doing some bucket rattling to raise much needed funds for Led By You – extra hands are welcome so feel free to come support the events, it would be much appreciated! Young Leaders really appreciate the fact that the group perform and allow us to piggy back on their vocal talents. We look forward to the curry night on 9 December where we get to sit and chat with them (and also eat some of their curry – thanks Scott!).

Third Sector Awards

Don’t they scrub up well?

The exciting and eye catching Annual Report for 2015-16 was shortlisted for the Third Sector Awards, this is a national award ceremony, so it was a big deal! Not only this, but this was the first time a charity in Northern Ireland had been nominated in these awards, which is an even bigger deal! Our very own Robyn, Kathy and Trevor attended the ceremony in the big city of LONDON and were as proud as punch to be there to represent Led by You and MACS. Trevor has done nothing but rant and rave about how well Kathy and Robyn presented themselves at the presentation, professionalism is very much rooted within the two of them.


It should be noted that the Young Leaders (Kathy, Emma, Carrie but especially Robyn) have been hobnobbing with celebs galore – it feels like this should be an edition OK magazine with Bear Grills and Prince William to name a few. We are impressed with the vigour that Robyn pursues celebs – if your chosen career doesn’t work out you can always be a paparazzi!!!!

Macs Young People meet Prince William Duke of Cambridge - photo by Press Eye
Prince William seems well impressed with our Young Leaders Carrie, Emma and Robyn!

Bee Well

beewellBig Shout out to Emma and Carrie – two of our young leaders who have completed the training to help co-facilitate the Bee Well Schools project. They are both very excited to help Amanda out with this programme around building resilience and positive coping strategies. Also, while on Placement we (Amit and Shannon) will be dipping our toes in and help Amanda deliver the sessions.

Organising a trip the MACS way

Led By You HalloweenWe (Shannon and Amit, or ‘Shamit’ if you like a bit of name blending) were given the opportunity to organise a group trip with floating support. This was an exciting opportunity for us to learn how to organise a trip the MACS way. More importantly, it was a great space for us to get to know some of the young people in floating support. Our trip included a cheeky Nando’s – because who doesn’t love chicken?! And, in the spirit of Halloween, a screening of the horror film ‘Happy Death Day’. It was a brilliant night had by all ☺

BIG NEWS! Our own Cailian and Deirbhile in Led by You have flown the nest to educate themselves in University. Such an amazing achievement! Although they will be very sorely missed we wish them all the very best. Young leaders who have been involved in Led by You never really leave us, they will always be a part of our team!

Annual Report

At the most recent Board meeting our Young Leaders did a presentation on the new Annual Report and a progress report of the implementation of the recommendations from last year’s service reviews (lordy that’s a tongue twister). To say Robyn and Amit did us proud would be an understatement – the board were WOW’d by their poise and professionalism. We have also learned if you colour code your presentations people get less bleary eyed a lot less quickly!

And now, our new annual report for 2016-17 is here and we LOVE it! We have used a totally different style in comparison to last year, a big shout out to Iain (Lisburn Integrated Manager) who was able to put our vision and ideas into a reality and produce the best Annual Report yet!

Copies will be available to download on our website soon, hard copies will also be available in our office so come pay us a visit and grab a copy! Don’t forget to share with your young people, friends, co-workers etc. Last year we actually ran out of Annual Reports – the first time ever in MACS – which meant we had to double our order!

Halloween team building

The new dream team “Shamit”  (artist formerly known as Prince LOL) also had the opportunity to attend a Halloween group with Wellbeing following their service review to the very spooky Crumlin Road Gaol.

Wellbeing Halloween Crumlin Road JailThis was an excellent opportunity for us to get to know young people within MACS Wellbeing Service. The group who went to the Jail of Horror were all very quickly in a team huddle to protect themselves from zombies, killer clowns, ghosts – you name it! A great ‘get to know you’ activity – ‘Hello, nice to meet you. Would you like to see me terrified?!’ I (Shannon), can be seen looking petrified in the bottom right hand corner of the pic… I’m not cut out for All Hallow’s Eve!

That being said the staff and young people had a brilliant time and were able to laugh about it later, plenty of great memories made! Shannon was also able to recruit seven young people from Wellbeing to join her in prep work for her ‘MACS Talks Back’ event.

Money Matters Program

moneyI (Amit) will be running a Money Matters Program with young people while on placement with Floating Support. Using training I received from Youth Action I plan to deliver a programme completing four modules around ways to look at how young people can better manage their money. Young people will be given a £20 incentive each for the completion of the program (who doesn’t like a wee incentive!)

In addition, there is also an opportunity for young people to run their own money project with a budget up to £400 and will be supported by Led By You to do this. This group will run on Thursday evenings from the 9 – 30 November from 3 – 5pm at the 303 Ormeau road, Belfast.

And all the rest

Having such a nice blend of personality types in the Young Leaders team is great and Shannon is looking forward to starting her sessions.

Led By You provides us Young Leaders with opportunities to develop both professionally and personally – currently several of us are doing 1-1 Enneagram sessions. We could go into technicalities about how Enneagram works but here is the cliff notes version – you increase your self awareness by learning more about your personality types and by aligning your core centres of head, heart and gut.

In addition to this, we are doing 1-1 coaching sessions with Trevor and we have heard through the grapevine he regularly says “it’s a pleasure to coach Young Leaders”. Not that we didn’t know that anyway but feedback, especially positive feedback is always good ?

We piloted a drop in over the summer which we plan on running again, working in partnership with the other teams and volunteers to create a safe social space for young people to come together and meet others so watch this space – the more young people the better and it’s something I (Amit) am personally quite passionate about!

The Shadow Board continues to go strong with continued dedication, enthusiasm and interest in ensuring young people are involved in key processes here in MACS. We are currently working on the Annual Service Reviews with Young Leaders co-facilitating these. We are coming your way folks and we DEFINITELY want to hear what our young people have to say. As Young Leaders we really value your feedback and are proud to facilitate these sessions.

On a final note, Young leaders will be heading out for our social night on Thursday 2 November for Bowling and dinner at Wolves in Dundonald. It’s not really down to winning the game it’s about striking a few strike and a few left hooks. Trevor hopes that he has the winning team but that isn’t going to happen ?

Until next time,

~ Amit & Shannon
(aka SHAMIT)

Oh by the way, Trevor here! I want to get my two cents in………. because we were so impressed with Robyn’s lovely quote at the end of the last Blog and to emulate Mary’s blog style (not copy but they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we have found a wee quote which I think applies to all our Young Leaders in Led By You;

Good leaders are trail-blazers, making a path for others to follow. Great leaders, however, inspire their people to reach higher, dream bigger, and achieve greater. Perhaps the most important leadership skill you can develop is the ability to provide inspiration to your team.

Every day I am impressed and inspired with the creativity, passion and commitment of the Young Leaders in Led By You and it is a pleasure for me to work such amazing young people who genuinely inspire me and make me love coming to work!

~ Trevor, Team Leader Led By You