The big news this month is the opening of Lisburn Supported Housing. I was lucky enough to have time to visit on 7th July for their open day.
It is incredibly spacious and has loads of light streaming in through its many windows. The flats themselves are bright, modern and would be right up my street as my first home. Staff were really welcoming to visitors, and are already creating a warm and very vibrant atmosphere – long may it last. Can I give a warm welcome to Angela, Brogan, Cara, Christine, Claire & Larry (Angela and Larry moved from positions in Newry Housing) all brand spanking new to Lisburn Housing.
This month, I wanted to concentrate on some of the great stories I have been receiving about young people in MACS.
In Downpatrick, the young people have totally redesigned their living room space. It is now minus all the ugly office furniture and looks like a proper (and very posh) living room resplendent with loungers which go on forever, a very grand dining table and chairs, and some very cool bespoke art work.
In Newry, young people alongside Support Worker David have been getting all green fingered creating a lovely garden space as part of the ‘social pedagogy’ approach. They have built garden furniture and flower pots, transforming a derelict space into an area fit for Homes and Gardens magazine. I don’t read this magazine obviously, but I see it lying around waiting room surgeries!
Kurtis, a Newry young person, has just moved into a 2-bedroom house which is round the corner from Canal street – which happily still allows for support when he needs it. I am told that he has made the transition into his own home with great maturity, and staff are immensely proud of him.
Glenn, a young person from Belfast Floating Support, moved in to his new flat recently, and he managed to get his flat turned into a home in such a short period of time. Glenn is such a determined and pro-active young man. He is always ready to try new things and he gets involved in most of the MACS groups. Glenn was also offered a placement to do an apprenticeship in joinery, and hopes to start it in September.
Young people in Lisburn Housing are steadily moving in. Special mention was given to Cleona who, on one of her first evenings in, made a lovely meal complete with candles for two members of staff Angela and Lynda. Not only that, but she also made cupcakes for staff and neighbours. One of the neighbours was so touched by her thoughtfulness that she bought Cleona a small moving in gift for her flat.
In Uni Street Housing, Sebastian, an asylum seeker whose status is currently under review, has made a significant impact on other young people he lives with. He has gone out of his way to support them with challenges they face, giving huge amounts of hope and strength to others. This is amazing considering his residency in Northern Ireland is very precarious.
And Prudence (again, in Uni Street) who is just with us over a month, has already made a positive contribution to the atmosphere and is holding her own gallantly as the only female in the building. She is motivated and enthusiastic and has joined the Food Around the World group which promotes culture and food from different countries.
Tony in Uni Street, who has been with us just two months, is doing brilliantly – his flat could be a show flat by all accounts. Staff have been really impressed with his can-do attitude and he is always willing to lend a hand around the building in relation to painting, cleaning, power hosing and even gardening!
This blog is funny, insightful and packed with information
If you haven’t got a chance to read Cailain’s blog on behalf of the young leaders on the Shadow Board, I would urge you to cast your eye over it. Actually, it deserves to be read out at all team meetings! I see I have a contender in the blog stakes, I certainly will have to up my game!
And on the subject of the Shadow Board, they are completing exemplary work on the annual report, and I am very excited about this new venture for MACS. Any Shadow Board meetings that I have attended, I have been really struck by the ideas, expertise and commitment of this group. We aim to have the annual report for 15/16 written and produced solely by our young leaders ready for the Lisburn Housing Launch in October.
And lastly, can I once again thank Trevor for the commitment and dedication he is giving to Led by You. As you know he is only leading Led by You part time, but he is doing so much more than part time hours, such is his drive to make a real success of truly getting young people to the fore in this organisation. The identification of leads in each team to promote participation has made a huge difference.
I think we are on the right path to harness MACS young leaders potential and see tangible results in the forthcoming months.