BCRC ‘punching above its weight’

A community group which has been working quietly in Ballymoney with a team of just nine people has been praised for “punching above its weight”.

Ballymoney Community Resource Centre (BCRC) has a motto: “for the community, by the community, with the community”.

During the financial year of 2021-22, BCRC resourced local communities to the value of £0.5million.

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BCRC Rock School and Creative Space resources programmes for Young People with Disabilities aged 11-25 years.

Surf therapy

The early 2021 programme was guided by government restrictions and BCRC staff organised the distribution of wellbeing packs, online ‘Causeway Crew’ Rock School Sofa Sessions, online Creative Space tutorials and online training in the Creative Arts.

BCRC Disability Officer, Denise Pemrick, commented: “Continuation of services at this difficult time helped maintain morale with our Rock Schoolers. When we couldn’t be physically together, we offered bi-weekly art tutorials, a weeklong virtual Easter, an interactive ‘Bake-Off’ day to a ‘Health and Happiness’ workshop. The group also engaged and learned many new skills.”

One of the great successes for the young people was the wonderful interest the group took in photography with the ‘Through Our Eyes’ training programme.

“This was expanded upon with a moving images project in 2021 entitled ‘Through Our Voices’ whereby each member of the Causeway crew created a 5 minute video detailing their experiences of lockdown.

BCRC Community Navigator at the conference

“This was showcased at our Drive-In Cinema event where the group were delighted to see themselves and their work on the big screen. Their photographs are also published in BCRC book ‘Voices’ which connects to another body of BCRC work into 100 Voices for Northern Ireland over 100 years by the Community Outreach team.”

BCRC Community Outreach Team are fieldworkers for community relations issues and programmes within local communities throughout Causeway Coast & Glens borough: 37% of their work in the last year related to cultural expression which included the delivery of a Shared History Project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

They delivered a total of 22 sessions including book clubs, facilitative panel drama workshops working with members from the key institutions and elected representatives, training around The Alternative Twelfth, which focused on shared history. Other elements were funded through the Community Relations small grants programme and enabled study visits including trips to The Boyne Heritage Centre, The Seige Museum, The Peace Walls and Schomberg House to take place, together with a series of educational workshops exploring Irish History and Politics from the 1600’s.

Angela Mulholland and Clair McLaughlin, BCRC Community Outreach Team stated: “Many of our participants who attended our programmes looking at cultural expression, enjoyed the opportunity to experience situations outside of their normal comfort zone and to actively participate in open discussions and study visits facilitated within a safe and shared environment.”

Rock School on the beach

The BCRC Community Outreach Team also worked with local schools and youth groups as well as physical shared spaces within the borough including supporting the need for Portstewart Town Hall.

BCRC Community Development is an extension of the work of the Manager and the Finance Administrator who provide additional governance support for groups with AGMs, Constitutions, Access NI and other capacity areas including funding.

Overall BCRC held 199 funding advice sessions with groups - 61 individual sessions as a Charity Hub, governance issues including EGMs, AGMs, Surveys and Constitutions, funders evaluations and 15 Financial Statements produced for groups.

BCRC Ethnic Communities Officers completed nearly 1900 interventions in 2021 to support migrant workers and refugees in Causeway Coast and Glens area. Supported issues included poverty, employment, loneliness, housing, integration, English classes, domestic violence and many more.

Building Communities Resource centre (BCRC) conference

Ethnic Communities Officers collaborate with Red Cross to provide emergency funding for those in poverty and work closely with Women’s Aid to support women affected by domestic violence.

BCRC Ethnic Community and Community Outreach teams have participated and supported the development of 17 projects tackling exclusion and good relations including Women’s Circle – safe space for women affected by violence; Well-being workshops with NHSCT MDT teams (HSCT)  to tackle social exclusion in Health; Surf Therapy in collaboration with The Wave Project NI to support emotional and physical well-being of children

and young people; Multi-Sports Diversity Summer Camp (young people); Phenomenal Women creative space for diverse group of women; Threads of Cultures- project run by volunteers to support integration of Syrian and local women.

BCRC operates a Locality Community navigator (LCN) service for people over aged over 50 years to help them navigate health and community based services and to provide links and information for older people, carers, the public, healthcare professionals and social proscribing facility for community activities beneficial to their health and well-being. This Service covers Coleraine, Ballymoney and Moyle Area.

BCRC LCN organised different activities and events throughout the past year: Winter Wellbeing events in Coleraine, Ballymoney and Moyle with partners COAST; Building Resilience & Moodwatchers zoom events with Dr Shane Martin; Pop-up clinics for older peoples clubs; Presentations to older people’s community groups; International Women’s Day.

BCRC Locality Community navigator helped 36 groups over the last year with funding applications. The LCN also applied for a number of different funding opportunities also which allowed to help a number of individuals/groups in a variety of ways with packs, digital inclusion and resilience building.

Building Communities Resource centre (BCRC) conference

Community groups for older people have said the LCN is a lifeline as a lot “don’t do computers and all the funding is online” and “without the navigator to help them source and complete these applications there would be no group”.

To join or access BCRC services please contact 028 2766 5068.

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