Happy second birthday, N-GAGE!

Start360's N-GAGE service in Ballymena is today celebrating its second birthday in style - by officially opening our new garden. The birthday party is a drop-in lunch between 1.00 and 3.00 and all are welcome.

Anne-Marie McClure, Chief Executive of Start360, says, ‘It’s a real pleasure for us to be celebrating N-GAGE’s second birthday. The young people we work with tell us time and again how much they value the service and the staff who deliver it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next year has in store for us!’

Luke is 18 and from Ballymena. He says, ‘N-GAGE is an amazing service which helps young people get off the streets and into a safe environment. I come to N-GAGE to find friends and meet new people. I have been here since the first opening day and I will keep coming back. Not only the people that come here are my friends but the staff too. I have been offered so many opportunities which have been amazing and I will keep taking them.’

Clinton is 24 and also from Ballymena. He says, ‘N-GAGE is the place where I come to relax and feel at home – it is my second home.’

 Our N-GAGE garden has been put together by service users and staff and will be another bright, relaxing space for activities, group work and one to one sessions. It has been kindly supported by Ben Vista Garden Centre and we thank them for their help.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, said she is very pleased to help celebrate the Start360’s N-GAGE service in Ballymena.

‘This is an important milestone. It highlights the range of services and interventions in the areas of health, justice and employability that have been undertaken over the past two years. Start360’s N-GAGE has an excellent track record working with young people and adults in partnership with the statutory, voluntary and community sectors. It supports people through an extensive range of programmes and services that is very welcome in the Borough and in Ballymena in particular.’

Jayne McConaghie, Health and Wellbeing Improvement Senior Officer with the Public Health Agency (PHA), said, ‘The PHA has funded One Stop Shop Services across Northern Ireland to cater for the health improvement needs of children and young people aged 11-25 years old.  These facilities have been established following identified needs in local communities and provide young people with access to information in a relaxed and informal environment. Over the past two years N-GAGE have ensured that young people are at the forefront of the service, ensuring that there is a coordinated approach in dealing with the wide range of issues that can affect young people within today’s society.’

Start360 also delivers a range of other services in the Northern Trust area including the Voices hidden harm service and the Connections service, and the DAISY and Targeted Life Skills services which are delivered in partnership with ASCERT.