Led by You Blog

Given the unseasonably warm weather, the farmers tans and the smell of buckie on the streets we have decided to give you our LBY Summer Edition Blog.

Some read the Telegraph, some read the Sun and some read magazines like Hello but here is where you find out what really matters…. What our Young Leaders are up to!

Leading from the front

Our intrepid Young Leaders have been working hard developing their own programmes and projects which they have been delivering with our young people across MACS services.

Some examples include;

  • Kathy ran her own confidence building group
  • Emma co-facilitated a participation forum and her own positivity group (more on these later!)
  • Amit ran a drop in and while on placement with Shannon delivered our MACS Talk Back event
  • Amy was involved in the Building Change Trust group to plan our social enterprise
  • Amit ran his own money management course
  • Carrie has designed her own stress management workshop to deliver with young people

Credit has to be given to the Young Leaders for their creativity, passion and dedication to plan and deliver these projects.

MACS Talks Back

MACS Talks Back was a hugely successful event! Young People from across MACS services met with MLA’s and representatives from the PSNI to share problems they have as young people and how these services can improve to help them. Young people created a briefing document which went to all of the parties who attended!

Participation Forum

Led By You Stereotypes Workshop 2018 - 4Some of the artwork from the forum designed to help young people create power statements to challenge stereotypes they had experienced. Forums were held in February and June 2018. Led By You July 18 1Emma’s workshop was lovely – so relaxed and she did a fantastic job in explaining the positivity boxes and helping young people create them. Each person got messages to take away – Emma will be offering this out as a workshop across all the teams so share with your young people and let us know if you want one in your service!

Word on the Street……..

So you may have heard that Led By You are exploring the idea of setting up a social enterprise. Having successfully secured over £7,000 from Ulster Bank Skills and Opportunities Fund and a further £10,000 from Building Change Trust we are well on the way to getting this up and running. Big shout out to the Young Leaders for their involvement in the planning groups, the social media campaigning and the pitch presentations! Emma (HR Manager) and Claire (Admin) have been part of the busy bee workforce behind the endeavour also. If this sounds like something you or anyone you know would be interested in being involved in drop us a line! The more the merrier…….

Emma, Robyn, Amit and Amy with special advisors Dextor and Murphy
Emma, Robyn, Amit and Amy with special advisors Dextor and Murphy

The capacity to learn is a gift.Young Leaders continue to do their own individual training as part of Led By You including health and safety, working with challenging behaviours, first aid, cyber safety, alcohol and substance misuse training, mental health awareness and ASIST training. They are an eager bunch and it is fantastic to see them encourage that learning in others. Young Leaders, alongside young people from Belfast Floating Support and Wellbeing have completed an OCN level 2 in Good Relations and Respecting Diversity. Dates are out for the next batch on training on Conflict Management running from 14th August until 11th September. This is open to any young person who is interested.

MACS Singers

You may not have heard but Led By You has taken over working with our very own singers group MACS Singers. These lovely folk practice every Wednesday in 303 from 7pm – 8.3pm and are always welcoming new members. We have Young Leaders involved too and with the help of the new choir director Chris and his friend Jordie they have brought a new acoustic sound to the group which sounds amazing.

You will have seen them perform at the Volunteer Event – they did a great job! Other upcoming events include;

  • Café Music Jam event
  • Pub Quiz fundraiser
  • Street Collections and performances

The ladies and gents of this group are avid supporters of Led By You and the work of MACS as a whole so please spread the word and if you fancy a sing-a-long, you know where we are at!

Volunteer Bbq Streamvale Farm 2
Choir performing at Volunteer Event at Streamvale Farm

And the rest

Escape Rooms Led By You 1We recently had our team building day sleuthing it out at Belfast Puzzle rooms. It is safe to say that when it comes to cracking codes we know what we are doing. We were in the top 3 fastest times that month. Go Led By You!

Shannon, who was our placement student completed her dissertation on Led By You – reviewing the shadow board and participation within the organisation. Holding focus groups with the young leaders and individual one to one interviews with staff and young people she has given us a copy of her dissertation entitled “Led By Who” – thankfully it is a positive review of what we are doing – in fact shannon said she found it difficult to find fault. Congrats to Shannon as she got a 1st in her degree in Youth and Community Work at UUJ, is now working in Springboard and recently got engaged to her girlfriend. Shannon was a pleasure to have and we all defo miss her…. Don’t worry tho, at every opportunity we are trying to get her back!

The Shadow Board has been working really hard on the Annual Report. This year’s theme is fantastic and a MASSIVE shout out to Iain (Lisburn Integrated Manager) for all the work on the creative. He has held true to the Young Leaders vision and worked really hard to bring their ideas to life. The annual report is a true collaboration of the Shadow Board and other MACS teams so thank you all for the stories and content we have asked for.

We are so proud to see the finished production of the DFC video – Led By You coordinated with teams and the video production company the individual interview sessions. As you know, the finished product is a powerful reflection on our young people’s experiences and it was an absolute pleasure to work with those young people who shared their stories and showed incredible bravery and resilience throughout.

Led By You is building quite the reputation – in the last month or so, we have had 4 external organisations come to us because they have heard of the work we do and seeking advice on how to get increase participation in their projects. These include; Relentless Change (referred by Big Lottery; Integrated Education Fund; Futures Program and Northern Ireland Youth Forum.

It is time for the annual celebration event formerly known as Oscars – we have decided to change the name of this so it focuses more on celebrating young people in MACS rather than awards. So save the date – Wednesday 3rd October 2018 from 5pm to 8pm in Balmoral Hotel, Blacks Road, Belfast.

Young Leaders are involved in the planning alongside Emma (Belfast Floating), Sharron (Wellbeing) and Matt (Admin) and this year we are bringing the focus back to our young people with performances from them and a nice posh sit down meal.

Kathy and baby Mia
Kathy and baby Mia


We have some congratulations to give out to our intrepid Young Leaders!! Carrie has successfully completed her OCN level 3 in Youth and Community Work. Amit has been offered a place in Youth and Community Work in UUJ and is starting in September.

And last but by no means least………. MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS to Kathy and her partner Jack on the birth of her baby girl Mya.

She is the first Young Leader to have a baby and she is an absolute dote.