Hey guys – Katie here! First blog of 2022 – woohoo! I hope you all enjoyed celebrating the new year and (hopefully!) acing all your new resolutions.
I’m so excited to fill you in on all the new wee updates and changes that have taken place the past few months. It’s definitely been busy! So once more, without further ado..
Muddy Paws has recently gained an amazing new worker, Laura! Laura was absolutely perfect for Muddy Paws with all her previous experience working with young people in youth work, as well as past experience with working with dogs too. She is so passionate about working with young people and has been super busy with lots of new referrals and the Wash and Play service. All of the young people at Muddy Paws [and all the doggos!] are so thankful for her passion and support.
Muddy Paws would also like to extend an invitation for anyone interested in the volunteering opportunities they have available to apply, as there is just so many benefits to volunteering there including gaining work experience and furthering your personal development. With such increased demand it’s definitely all-paws-on-deck at the moment!
In October, Hugo (Young Leader in Led By You) and Homeira (Muddy Paws Volunteer) facilitated a dog based group activity alongside Amy (Volunteer Coordinator) – creating bandanas and dog treats with young people. It was a great opportunity to promote the service to young people and get them involved. Feedback from the young people was fantastic and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
Myself, Mya and Robyn helped Trevor facilitate a stall at CS Lewis Square, during a family-friendly event that allowed attendees to learn all about Muddy Paws, our Walk, Wash and Play service and also how the service helps benefit all the young people at MACS who choose to volunteer, thus gaining work experience and reaching personal goals by fully participating. The event was a complete success and we all just genuinely really enjoyed the opportunity to spread the word about Muddy Paws.
Members of Led By You got to experience the joys of Virtual Reality City, as a celebration of all the effort put forward by each and every one of them throughout 2021. The Young Leaders really enjoyed this extra special experience and had an amazing time!
Trevor continues worked hard to gain feedback from the young people engaged with MACS services in 1-to-1 service reviews, taking on board all their experiences and input on the services offered by MACS. These service reviews are incredibly important to MACS as it allows for the voices of young people to be listened to and understood, which is fundamental to making sure that we are helping the young people in every way we can.
Other consultations since our last blog that Trevor has led to ensure young people’s views and opinions are heard include; Housing Supply Strategy Consultation, a social enterprise consultation and an internal rota consultation with MACS Supported Housing Service.
Led By You’s Anti-Racism group which is being spearheaded by Eve, David and Dean (and with the support of Trevor) have developed an incredible plan to bring resources and facilitate workshops within schools across Northern Ireland, to help raise young people’s awareness of racism and how it affects many people within NI. This is absolutely fantastic news and they’re very excited to get the ball running with this idea.
The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh Council, Alderman Stephen Martin, chose MACS as one of his nominated charities of 2021-2022. Mayor Martin shared these thoughts following his decision to nominate MACS.
Both ADD N.I. and MACS help young people who have faced real challenges. ADD N.I. works with those who have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and MACS supports 6 – 25 years old who haven’t had a fair start in life whether that is because of homelessness, mental wellbeing or other issues.
Following this delightful news, MACS was given the opportunity to promote its services at the 2021 Balmoral Show! Throughout the week different staff promoted MACS helping to spread awareness of all the different ways MACS strives to assist young people with its diverse range of services. On the last day both myself and Trevor manned the stall – Muddy Paws was a big hit, maybe because of the strong animal presence at the Balmoral show.
Young Leaders have continued to work hard on the 2021 Annual Report by attending multiple meetings throughout the year and brainstorming all the finishing touches. The report will be released by the end of this month and we are all honestly super-duper excited to release it!!! With this one complete it’s time to start the new one – clearly there is no rest for the wicked!
Speaking of Young Leaders and not resting – some recent updates for both Mya and Olga. Both have started new jobs, Olga is working in a Care Home and completing her Health and Social Care Level 2 and Mya has completed her dog grooming course, is working in a Grooming Parlour and has moved into her own place for the first time. Hats off to you both!😊
Christmas already seems so long ago but in December, Young leaders as well as volunteers from Muddy Paws also took part in an Online Christmas Quiz with make your own pizza and mocktail kits that were kindly delivered to everyone by Trevor and Laura. The quiz was lots of fun and was a great way to celebrate everyone’s hard work throughout 2021.
Lastly, on the 27th January and 12th of February respectively we are having 2 different vision workshops – one for Young Leaders and one for Muddy Paws young people and volunteers to plan what we want to achieve for the next year and also look at different funding opportunities. We are so excited to hear everyone’s ideas and come up with a game plan for 2022! Bring it on! 😊
Until next time,