Newtownabbey civic buildings lit up for charity’s 75th anniversary

Civic buildings across Antrim and Newtownabbey were illuminated this month to mark the 75th anniversary of Relate NI.

The relationship support charity provides counselling services as well as offering remote counselling through telephone or webcam province-wide.

Mossley Mill, Antrim Civic Centre and Ballyclare Town Hall were lit up blue and orange to commemorate the major milestone.

Duane Farrell, Relate NI CEO, said: “I am extremely proud of the work Relate NI has done over the past 75 years to support people and their relationships across NI. I want to recognise our staff and trustee teams, and other supporters, both past and present, for the impact they have made to the lives of individuals, couples, families, children and young people over that time.

Mossley Mill was lit up to mark the anniversary.

“Last year, our charity was able to directly support 18,735 people, and 87 per cent of respondents told us that their wellbeing had improved after attending Relate NI Services. 78 per cent of respondents told us they wished they’d attended sooner which reflects the fact that we generally wait for a point of crisis before we reach out for support, when reaching out at an earlier point would be more effective for peoples wellbeing.

“Healthy relationships have always been integral to human wellbeing, but we know that there are always stressors such as health, wellbeing, financial concerns that impact on our relationship quality and cause relationship distress. Those existing stressors have been exacerbated significantly by world events over these last number of years.

“The pandemic has placed massive pressures on our relationships; our counsellors are telling us about how reduced access to health services for families are creating financial and mental health pressures which are impacting relationships; and now, financial challenges such as the cost of living crisis are putting pressure on parents and families while the climate crisis is leading to real anxiety for our young people.

“Relate NI are here to support people through these times and we hope that the council illuminations will help encourage people to reach out for support earlier. We know that regular relationship maintenance can help us develop healthy relationships and as well as our therapeutic services, we are introducing new ways to support relationships including through digital resources and our new Relationship MOT service, a single session service where couples can check in with each other and identify the strengths in their relationship as well as areas for improvement.

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“For Relationships Week, we have developed ‘milestone maps’ which individuals, couples, families and blended families can use to schedule relationship maintenance – a bit like a vision board but for your relationships.”