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Kids Together looking to the future thanks to funding boost  

Published: Wed, 4 Apr 2018
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Katie, one of the children who attend Kids Together, with Coordinator Mairead McCrea and Sean O’Kane from our west Belfast office.
Kids together
A Belfast community facility which provides support services for local children with complex needs and their families is looking to the future thanks to funding from us.
Kids Together, on the Stewartstown Road in west Belfast, received £20,000 from our Social Housing Enterprise programme to fund two staff posts. The programme aims to support groups and individuals to set up or develop social enterprise projects in areas where our tenants live.
Kids Together provides services and support for children aged from birth to 18 years. Many of the children who attend the facility have complex conditions including severe autism, while many are non-verbal and have sensory issues, requiring intensive support from skilled staff.
Kids Together Co-ordinator Mairead McCrea said funding the posts is essential to ensure the centre’s long-term sustainability.
“Since we first started Kids Together in 2005, demand for our services has been growing all the time. We are so thankful to the Housing Executive for this funding, because we can help ensure our children will realise their potential, improve their quality of life and participate fully within their community.
“The funding has made it possible for us to employ a business development manager and a finance administrator, key staff members who will ensure the smooth running of Kids Together. That means we can continue to meet the needs of children with disabilities and complex needs and their families, by delivering high quality, specialist services.”
Mairead described the type of support available at Kids Together:
“We are open seven days a week and provide services such as music therapy, sensory play and arts and crafts, as well as an after-schools care facility. Parents of children with complex needs often feel overwhelmed and worry that their child will get the right support, but knowing that we’re providing their child with specialist care in a welcoming environment, can be a huge relief.
“We also offer support for parents, siblings and other family members, because we recognise that the impact of raising a child with complex needs is far-reaching.”
Support worker Orla Bradley with Katie, one of the children who attend Kids Together.
Support worker Katie
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 are based in areas where our tenants live or 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, Social Housing Enterprise Manager, said:
“We are delighted to see Kids Together continue to develop, thanks to the support from our Social Housing Enterprise programme. Our aim is to help social enterprises that are based in or serve our communities to deliver services and provide employment and training opportunities. It’s clear that the team at Kids Together are focused on reinvesting profits back into the project, benefitting service users, local residents and communities.”