Led by You Blog

Heya, I’m Katie/KC – one of the newest young leaders to join Led By You.  I’m so excited for the opportunity to write the blogs for a little while and update you all on what’s happening at the moment.

It’s that time of year where oncoming sunny days and slush puppies are now in sight, however that all comes in second when compared to a new Led By You blog!  It’s been a busy few months and we’re all buzzing to share with you what we’ve gotten up to. So without further ado… ?

Led By You
Hugo’s Kango Chicken and Ebony’s T-shirt design from their Isom8 sessions

A fabulous group of Young Leaders has continued to brainstorm ideas for a new workshop, off the back of the Imagine Being Me research carried out last year.  The group is excited to facilitate this, with the aim of challenging racism and examining ingrained beliefs and ideas.  During this time Trevor developed peer mentor training and delivered this with the support of our fab placement student, Liam.  Us Young Leaders really wanted to get practical experience working with other young people across MACS and this training allowed us to provide peer mentoring to them, to take part in Led By You’s Isom8 program, which has been hugely successful again! Volunteers from MACS Muddy Paws, our student Liam as well as Young Leaders delivered over 60 Isom8 sessions to young people across MACS. How amazing is that? We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in this for their time, commitment and support to young people struggling with isolation and loneliness during these lockdowns.  What absolute stars! ⭐

Also, Muddy Paws has received an upgrade for 2021!? Trevor and Maxine got stuck-in painting and decorating to freshen up Muddy Paws for when young people come back. Customers love the new look so they’re hoping young people will too, especially as they’re currently working on creating a chill out space for them in the back! One of Muddy Paw’s lovely volunteers has agreed to take the lead on designing this alongside Muddy Paw’s young people.  We are delighted to have young people and volunteers back in the shop – due to the COVID restrictions we weren’t able to for a while but don’t fear – the doggos were well looked after as Maxine provided welfare cuts. We also kept linking in with young people over zoom for wee catch ups, updating them on relevant changes and providing group activities to keep them connected and prevent them getting bored and lonely.

Some additional exciting news regarding Muddy Paws is that Trevor has recently applied to Jobstart for an apprentice which is amazing! Led By You has previously employed a young person through the Rank Foundation and now we want to offer that opportunity to a young person in Muddy Paws.

Liam has now finished his placement with us and gained a 2:1 in his degree which is fabulous! Well done Liam – his feedback is that he really loved his time with MACS, especially Isom8 and being involved in our supported housing service. As part of his dissertation he did a review of Isom8, an evaluation and some interviews with facilitators and the feedback was great. As a result, Isom8 is being built into Led By You’s Service delivery.

We want to give the young people more of what they are asking for and Isom8 is on everyone’s lips! ?

Throughout this time Trevor led a consultation in partnership with NICCY (the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People) on the impact of COVID-19 on Children and Young People’s rights. Young people from all of MACS services were represented but in particular Supported Housing and Floating Support. The feedback from NICCY was fantastic, and they said:

The young people representing MACS were so forthcoming, but more importantly their engagement and how they could articulate their thoughts and express their feelings was just mind blowing. I’m so proud of them all and their input is invaluable.

Brilliant feedback to hear! Well done to each young person involved and the staff who supported them.  Ensuring young people like us have a voice is part of the remit of Led By You, and this collaborative approach with other teams helps as many young people as possible be heard so thank you to everyone had a hand in facilitating this.  You’re incredible!!!

Recently we’ve also been looking at the new 15 year Housing Supply Strategy with the Department for Communities. We are working with Belfast Floating to get young people’s views on their needs when it comes to providing new housing in the future. It’s been great to hear all the feedback and opinions on it, including lots of ideas to make it even better!

Trevor has also successfully finished his first Rank Mentoring relationship providing professional guidance and insight to newly funded Time to Shine Leaders through the Rank Foundation. He’s had such a positive experience with his first mentee Josephine and is buzzing to start have started working with his new mentee Ben.

Young Leaders continue to meet fortnightly, and we’ve been working hard on developing this year’s Annual Report. So far, we’ve decided on the theme, began design work as well as gathered information from key players such as Barry from the Board of Directors and Mary, our CEO.

Funding from LFT Charitable Trust and the Enkalon Foundation also allowed for the creation of a bespoke training platform for us Young Leaders. We’re able to choose from a wide range of accredited courses to help build up our knowledge and training profile. This has been so exciting and has opened up lots of opportunities for Led By You.

Young Leaders held a zoom meeting with representatives from the LFT Charitable Trust to share what they’d been able to do over the past year because of LFT’s support. Feedback from the representatives was great and they’ve decided on funding us for another year, including the Isom8 program which is absolutely brilliant! We’re so grateful for everything they continue to do for us by giving us access to so many new opportunities and we’d just again like to thank them for being so amazing!

Muddy Pays

Sadly the wonderful Maxine has recently finished her time at Muddy Paws and we’re definitely going to miss her. Thank you so much Maxine for always being incredible, it really won’t be the same without you!


We Are VerticgoAs you can see a lot has changed the past few months. The Young Leaders managed to meet up for a trip to We Are Vertigo which was amazing.  (You can’t see it but we’re all sporting the goofiest grins, I promise.)

To wrap it up there’s a few updates from us including that Eve is moving into her first home!  We’re buzzing at this new chapter for her – exciting times!  Also, Robyn recently found out she has got a place in a Nursing degree at Queens University and we’re absolutely over the moon for her too, brilliant news!

It’s an amazing feeling to look back on what everyone has been completed and achieved over the past few months, including all the personal life achievements that are always brilliant to hear, and we’ll continue to keep you updated on it all!

Thanks so much for reading, and I can’t wait to catch up with you all again sooon!

~ Katie, Young Leader – Led By You