Pupils in Antrim and Strabane are celebrating the initial phase of an innovative new project being completed in their schools, which aims to improve outcomes for children and relationships in families.
The Families Together Project is a partnership between Parenting NI and New Life Counselling. The project has been awarded five years funding under the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out Supporting Families Programme.
The Families Together project has been designed to help support and improve family lives by strengthening family cohesion by encouraging more open and effective communication between parents and their children. The project includes a number of programmes for parents and children which will provide them with a better understanding of each other’s needs and the skills to manage family relationship difficulties a different way in the future.
Pip Jaffa, CEO at Parenting NI said: “We are delighted to have received funding from the Big Lottery Fund to enable us to deliver the Families Together project with our partners New Life Counselling.” This project will work towards improving outcomes for children in these areas as well as encourage families to actively get involved in the school life.
“The project gives us an opportunity to work alongside the schools in providing additional support to local families. Programmes for parents are available in schools in Antrim and Strabane which will help them with issues such as managing stress, building resilience and confidence in their parenting skills and managing situations like separation and communication breakdown. We also hope that parents will become more involved in school life with informal events and activities throughout the academic year.”
Karen Collins, CEO at New Life Counselling said: “New Life Counselling is delighted to be working with Parenting NI in the delivery of this Lottery funded project. From our experience in working with schools we know how much the support provided will be welcomed. We aim to support young children and parents to develop emotional resilience skills and improve their emotional wellbeing.”
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Thomas Hogg commented, “Families Together is a fantastic project that provides an important and much needed service to families who want to improve relationships with their loved ones. I am delighted to see this support available at three of our local primary schools in Antrim and trust that this will be a beneficial service to those who need it most.”
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion says she is delighted Big Lottery funding has been secured to provide Families Together Project services in Strabane. “I am fully supportive of any initiative that gives help, assistance and advice to families and that works to bring families closer together and help them develop better relationships. As a mother of three young boys myself I know how important it is to engage regularly with children and to listen to their views, their worries and their thoughts on all issues so that we can build on our relationship and learn to communicate better. This is a fantastic programme that offers something for both parents and children that will hopefully enhance and enrich the lives of families across the Strabane area.”
Throughout the week pupils from Ballycraigy Primary School, Parkhall Primary School, Six Mile Integrated Primary School, Sion Mills Primary School, St Catherine’s Primary School and St Mary’s Primary have enjoyed fun activities to mark the projects first year in their school.
It is hoped that as the project develops it will be possible to open it out to more schools to further benefit families in each area.
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