Ballymena mum praises charity for its support

A Ballymena mum has revealed how the support she and her young family received from charity ‘Action for Children’ has proved to be invaluable, not least during lockdowns.

Action for Children protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard and campaigning to bring lasting improvements to their lives. With 476 services in communities across the UK, the charity helps more than 387,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers a year.

Mum Caitrin Kincaid, who lives in Ballymena, received support from Action for Children during what she mentions as a vital time, when she had just had her first child and was struggling with being in a new area with very little support. Caitrin said, “I’d moved from Derry to Ballymena where my husband Denver’s from but to be honest I felt really isolated.

“I was struggling a bit with breast feeding my son Cooper and just when I could’ve done with my family’s support they seemed really far away. I was put in touch with my local Sure Start Service.” This service is delivered by Action for Children in Ballymena and Antrim on behalf of the Department of Education and in partnership with the Childcare Partnership and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. It brings together health, family support and early education services which are designed to support children’s learning skills, health and well-being, and social and emotional development.

Ballymena mum Caitrin Kincaid received support from Action for Children during a vital time

Caitrin said: “Once I saw all the activities Cooper and I could do I got involved with everything. The social aspect was a Godsend but I learned so much as a mum too for I didn’t feel I knew how to play with my baby.”

The Sure Start groups enabled Caitrin to get out of the house and support her own mental health as well as learning how to play with her sons – her second son Carter arrived a year after his brother. She said: “I discovered a whole new way to interact with them. I was absolutely fascinated by how children could learn and emotionally engage through play. But then along came Covid and we all know the drama that was.”

Caitrin wondered how she’d cope with lockdowns as she was miles away from her family, but she explained how Action for Children continue their support despite the situation and always find a way to make it work for each individual: “The girls at Action for Children didn’t miss a beat – the classes just went online and they were bringing them to life from their own homes.

“Being a mum is the most important thing in my world but sometimes when you’ve kids you feel you lose a bit of yourself. Thanks to Action for Children I just feel I can now be the best mum for my sons – and for me.”

Bathshack, which has a base in Ballymena, has just announced they will partner with Action for Children to support their vital work across NI. Lorna Ballard, National Director for Action for Children NI said: “This support comes at a very important time as families across Northern Ireland are facing significant rises in costs of fuel, food and more.”