News from N-GAGE in Ballymena


Below you'll find a range of news updates from N-GAGE. 

Craft Club

For the past six weeks our Craft Club has been making Christmas items to sell to raise money for Start360.  The young people who use N-GAGE have always been very creative and a lot of them attend the local college to study different art forms.  The young people feel this would be a good way to give back to N-GAGE and Start360.  They make a selection of items including, Christmas Wreaths, Christmas cracker centre pieces and mini bauble hats.  We were also able to get donations of Christmas themed items to sell at our Christmas Craft stall which will be in the Tower Centre in Ballymena on 1 December

Initially the Craft Club was just that, a craft club - but it has turned into something much more.  Young people come along, socialise with friends, learn something new and open up about their feelings. One young person who attends the craft club described it as 'therapy'.  We always begin with a demonstration of what we will be making that evening, but it always turns into something much more.  Young people feel free to be open about what’s going on in their lives and share their thoughts and feelings with their friends and staff.  We are always learning something new about each other and we always have fun.  The achievement young people feel from producing items to sell is great to see.  When they come into Craft Club each week and I tell them about the new orders we have the are always surprised that someone wanted to buy something they made.

The craft club takes place on a Tuesday evening from 6pm – 8pm, in N-GAGE.  One young person said ' It's fun, creative and well-thought-out. The craft club helps me be creative and I always find new ways to relax. I discovered new talents I didn’t know I had. It even helped me connect with my granny in ways I never thought I could. It always feels good when someone wants to buy something you’ve put effort into. To me it’s not just a craft club it’s an outlet for me to get out of the house and do something productive and give back to a space that has given so much to me.'

Complimentary Therapies

Start360 have long recognised the value of complimentary therapies in promoting the health and wellbeing of those we work with. There is an evidence base that complimentary therapies can help with relaxation, the alleviation of stress and anxiety, sleep disorders and detox. These are issues which present with many of our clients, both in custodial settings and in the community. Start360 staff are trained in auricular acupuncture and deliver the therapy across all our services.

N-GAGE has first-hand experience of the levels of stress and anxiety being carried by young people and how this impacts on their lives.  N-GAGE provides a walk-in service for information, support and signposting on a wide range of issues – with mental health issues very much at the top of the list. N-GAGE offers an enhanced complimentary therapy service for young people and parents. Funding from the Public Health Agency has allowed N-GAGE to provide a trained therapist who has been delivering Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and Reiki.

This has proved to be an enormous benefit to the nearly 100 people who have availed of the service this year. There is often a transformation in people before going in for a treatment and coming out again – like they have literally had a weight lifted off their shoulders.

‘Before I came I was extremely nervous and anxious as I suffer from anxiety - the massage was awesome and after last week’s treatment my sleeping pattern was incredible.’

‘I found it very relaxing and it helped me to stop overthinking about things.’

‘Today was a very rough day for me and the stress was unbearable. After the session I was so much more relaxed and my tension is gone.’


#Random Acts of Kindness

Josh Wylie says, '#RandomActsOfKindness is a project developed by young people to learn more about - and to help - their communities. We strive to make our community a better place with Start360.'

Gillian Forrest from Supporting Communities said, 'I just want to say a big thank you to the guys who supported the Dunclug Community Fun Day on 1July. Nothing was a bother - they helped, set up, engaged with the children and young people and even stayed to the end  helping with the clean  up.  Josh did an amazing job liaising with Dunclug Partnership,  all of who expressed their gratitude and  were inspired by his enthusiasm and dedication'.

The second event the team took part in was painting walls with Cullybackey Partnership - depicting just some of the area's most famous sports stars.

More to come as they continue their #RandomActsOfKindness!