Mary's Blog

Great news!  We have secured funding through Building Change Trust to look at the opportunity to develop a doggie walking and grooming social enterprise both in a volunteering capacity and training for our young people and volunteers.

This project is very much at fruition stage but nothing ventured nothing gained and it’s an invaluable experience to learn new skills and try out something brand new for MACS.

This has all been due to the hard work of Led by You – namely Trevor, Claire (Admin), Emma (SMT) and Amy (young person). Its early days and there’s still much work to be done to get this off the ground.

Work West have kindly given us some days to work on the business plan. The facilitator is very impressed with our young people in terms of their commitments and enthusiasm.

Well done to the team who prepared an excellent presentation to the Building Change Trust which had all the ingredients of a winning proposal.

Lovin Snow Patrol!

Wellbeing had the wonderful opportunity to attend a very small and intimate gig by Snow Patrol. Gary Lightbody was so impressed with MACS when he visited last year that he has kept in touch and promised tickets to future gigs which meant that some of our young people with Sarah and Amy were able to go to this very exclusive gig.  I believe the night was fantastic and this was an opportunity that many of our young people could not afford to go to.

Streamvale As part of Volunteers Week we will celebrating our amazing volunteers on the 7 June in Springvale Farm – come along and bring family and friends and show our volunteers how much we appreciate their support and the free time they give.

And what about this – Lisburn young people volunteered in partnership with Radius Housing on a gardening project for two full days in supported living accommodation for elderly in Coleraine – it was a tremendous success and our young people were a real credit to the organisation showing care, compassion and respect to their elderly partners.


Downpatrick have completed Social pedagogy training and are really focusing on the young person and not the behaviour. Routines and rituals are a strong developmental theme and there is a commitment to having breakfast every morning with any young person who is around.

There is also going to be a push on making the office space a more welcoming and friendly space for our young people and a new makeover for the living room.

In Belfast Floating Support, four young people completed cultural diversity good relations training facilitated by Tides. The team are also working closely with Extern Homes to try and extend our housing reach for young people. Also, MACS Belfast have made huge progress in working together as one team.

The last Outcomes Meeting with managers was terrific and its really heartening to see the progress made on working with other organisations to secure training opportunities for our young people.

In Belfast Housing, for example, there was a huge increase in young people attending training courses. It was felt this was down to partnership working with organisations like Bytes who are taking the time and energy to be present in our building and encourage our young people to try something new.

This is a fantastic experience and goes as living proof that the MACS ethos of interdependence is thriving and a realisation that we need others to make life work.

Absolutely phenomenal that three Belfast Housing young people are going away for 10 days sailing with the Tall Ships Crew. This is a fantastic experience and goes as living proof that the MACS ethos of interdependence is thriving and a realisation that we need others to make life work.


Declan, Kieran, Ryan And Jack
Declan, Kieran, Ryan And Jack Get ready for Tall Ships Voyage

Myself, Kate, Suzanne and Sinead were very lucky to complete fantastic training on Just Right State. This potentially could be a vital intervention to use with children and young people who have been very traumatised. We intend to use this approach in our new therapeutic children’s community and we’ll be looking for willing volunteers to apply our training on later on in the year!

Eyh I have mentioned in previous blogs that MACS is now a member of End Youth Homelessness (EYH). This is a national membership organisation and aims to raise funds for its members. It’s a really big deal that we were asked to join the partnership representing the youth homeless sector in Northern Ireland. As part of fundraising we will be organising a Big Sleep Out in November – Brrr not Grrr – I did mention this in last month’s blog and will be doing so every month from now on to garner support.  Roz and Andy are the leads for this so please think about lending support in whatever way you can.

And speaking of fundraising Philip Kieran has raised over £3000 by doing the London and Belfast Marathon for MACS – What an ultimate star ⭐⭐

Point to ponder “If everyone had to think outside the box, maybe it was the box that needed fixing” Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog saw.
Mary Ryan