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A creative approach to recovery in Ballymena  

Published: Thur, 26 Apr 2018
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Pictured (l-r) Robin Swann MLA, Connor Smith NIHE, Adele Winning Hope Centre, Mayor of East Antrim Borough Council Cllr Paul Reid, May Anderson Hope Centre Committee, Paul Frew MLA & David Ford MLA
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A community organisation in Ballymena is using funding of £8,100 from us to develop two social enterprise projects that will benefit individuals recovering from addiction as well as their families.
The Hope Centre, also known as Ballymena Family and Addicts Support Group, provides services to people with experience of drug and alcohol addiction, as well as support services for their carers and families.
It received the funds from our Social Housing Enterprise Programme, which gives financial awards to social enterprises that are based in or serve Housing Executive communities.
The funding has helped to develop two social enterprises - Hope Market and Hope Creative.
Hope Market sells high quality crafts and textiles made by individuals recovering from addiction and graduates from Ulster University’s School of Art.
Hope Creative offers arts workshops and creative design services to community and voluntary organisations. The services will be delivered by art graduates on a freelance basis and supported by volunteers with an interest in visual arts.
Profits from both projects will raise revenue for the Hope Centre’s core services such as counselling, group work, one-to-one support, and education and training.
It is anticipated that the projects will create three freelance opportunities and one part-time position, with many more individuals receiving training towards future employment.  
Hope Centre Manager Jonathan Hodge described what the funding has achieved:
“The funding from the Housing Executive has helped to turn our plans for a creative industry into reality, and a huge number of individuals and groups will benefit.
Through Hope Market, recovering addicts can explore their creativity while learning new skills and producing sellable products.
Hope Creative allows us to provide much-needed services to community and voluntary organisations. The workshops and training we deliver allow people of all ages and backgrounds to try something new, create something worthwhile and interact with others in a positive way.
The ultimate beneficiaries of the projects are those individuals who need our services – individuals recovering from substance and alcohol abuse, and their families.”
Our Social Housing Enterprise programme was first launched in 2015 and offers awards of between £1,000 and £50,000 to individuals and groups who live in Housing Executive areas or who offer services to our tenants.
Almost £500,000 has been awarded to groups and individuals in the third round of funding, benefiting a range of social enterprise initiatives including remanufacturing projects, arts and crafts workshops, childcare and health and fitness initiatives.
Paul Carland of the Social Housing Enterprise programme said:
“We fully support The Hope Centre’s plans to open an arts and crafts shop and provide creative services to the local community. Their efforts to involve service users and people who live in the community show that they are committed to developing their social enterprise projects to help others, while generating income.
"It is clear that the Hope Centre’s projects will have far-reaching benefits and we wish them well in the future.”