Cost of living was one of the priorities identified by children, young people and parents that the Antrim/Ballymena CYPSP Locality Planning Group (LPG) have been working on for the last few years. Since Covid and the cost of living crisis, this has obviously become a more pressing priority, therefore some members of the Antrim/Ballymena CYPSP LPG came together to do something to help local families with this.
A decision was made to hold events in Ballymena Showgrounds and Dunsilly Hotel.
The monring sessions brought together staff to network and share knowledge about services that help people make their money go further.
The afternoon sessions “Every Family Counts” brought together lots of different organisations as a means of informing families on services available in the local area to help with cost of living, e.g. Antrim Ballymena Surestart, Employers for Childcare, Northern Ireland Childminders Association, Start 360, Mid and East Antrim Council, Ballymena Baby basics, Ballymena Hygiene Bank, Impact Network NI, Family Fund, Ballymena South Community Cluster, Sensory Kids, Women’s Aid ABCLN, Slemish Credit Union, Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Service, NHSCT Health and Wellbeing, AN council, AN Community Advice, A Safe Space to be me, Barnardo’s, Libraries NI, Parentline NI, CAP and Department of Communities.
At the events there was a free play area, free recipes books, free resources to help with cost of living, NHSCT dietitians talk about how to cook healthy, low cost meals and a smoothie bike letting children create their own fruit smoothie with pedal power!
The events allowed organisations to come together to share knowledge and helped members of the public know what help and services are available round boosting their income and making their money go further.
Approximately 50 staff attended in the morning and afternoon at both venues.
Approximately 50 members of the public attended ‘Every Family Counts’ and learned what is out there to help with cost of living.
Thanks for all the Antrim Ballymena CYPSP LPG members, the co-chairs, and all who promoted the event and were part of the events.
Quotes from public who attended:
- “A lot of helpful advice about benefits, groups and things to do in the area.”
- “There was a range of services available for support and signposting.”
- “There was a wide range of stalls, friendly people.”
- “Ideas for saving energy and recipes.”
Quotes from staff who attended:
- “I learned about various agencies that I can refer and signpost local vulnerable families to.”
- “We had a great opportunity to network. Lots of good resources and links with other professionals which was great for us.”