The Barnardo’s Thrive Project, based at the Dunanney Centre at Rathmullan Drive, aims to “transform outcomes” for children and young people in Rathcoole and Monkstown.
It is a partnership between local parents, schools, community and voluntary organisations and statutory agencies working together to help children and young people in Macedon and Threemilewater District Electoral Areas to “achieve their full potential and have the best start in life”.
Established in 2015, Thrive wants children, young people and parents in Rathcoole and Monkstown “to have pride, self-confidence and hope for the future; strong mental health; success in schools resulting in pathways to further education, training and employment; a sense of belonging to a positive and supportive community; equality and consistency of opportunity across their community’s services”.
Last year, Thrive reported that projects have delivered more than 3,000 targeted literacy, numeracy and STEM sessions for more than 300 pupils needing some extra help. Over 450 parents have engaged in play and learning with their children through family learning events.
The organisation also supports schools and community partners to engage with young people in the area to “raise aspiration, build hope and provide education and employment alternatives”.
Speaking at a meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council earlier this week, Threemilewater DUP Councillor Mark Cooper said he “totally welcomed” a recommendation to approve the grant.
He added: “I’ve been a strong advocate for Thrive and delighted to propose Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council contributes to this fantastic programme. This is community planning in practice.”
Threemilewater Alliance Councillor Billy Webb stated: “This is a very successful project. Unfortunately, it is still very much-needed and deserves our support.”
Antrim SDLP Councillor Roisin Lynch commented: “I very much welcome this proposal. It lies very much at the heart of something that it is a big issue across Northern Ireland .”
She noted the support provided by the Thrive organisation to encourage “ambition, self-esteem and confidence” among young people.
“It is a wonderful example of what can be done when people come together.”
In a statement, issued after the meeting, Councillor Matthew Brady, a Thrive council representative, said: “It is great to see this significant funding secured for this project led by Barnardos, not only from council but from other statutory bodies also.
“From speaking to parents, principals and most importantly the children, it is fantastic to see these pupils receive the extra support to ‘thrive’ within their school and build their confidence.
“With this strong investment, we aim to deliver further support to our local schools and families with an aspiration of building upon what has already been achieved.”
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter