Leading Extern community project receives first birthday present of £247K from Department for Communities

Leading Extern community project receives first birthday present of £247K from Department for Communities

One of Belfast’s leading community projects which has supported 725 young people to date is celebrating its first birthday this week with the news that it has received an additional £247,000 of funding from the Department for Communities.

The Reach Out project, created by the leading social justice charity Extern, and funded by the Department for Communities, offers targeted and personalised supports for people from the age of four, whose lives have been impacted by substance or alcohol misuse, suicide, self-harm or mental health issues. The project also offers one-to-one support for young people, aged 4-18 plus, who are at risk of self-harm or engaging in self harming behaviours.

Supporting 725 people in its first year, and creating 5 jobs, ‘Reach Out’ works to help people build resilience and gain confidence by gaining access to intervention and treatment services and providing opportunities to get involved in diversionary activities.

It also reduces the risk of self-harm through promoting wellbeing, independence and healthy life choices. The 725 people who have been supported by the Reach Out project in its first year, includes;
• 345 people across the Greater Belfast area who received counselling and/or complementary therapy through the project, that’s nearly 1 a day. (186 of these referrals were due to mental health and self-harming behaviours.)
• 65 young people aged 11-25 were supported by the self-harm and mental health worker, receiving 8-12 weeks focused supported.
• The project delivered support to 31 different school, community groups, voluntary/statutory organisations, working with a further 315 young people on issues such as mental health, Self-awareness and WRAP and child sexual education.
• The project participated in 25 Health Events across the greater Belfast area engaging with a staggering 1,114 people at these, and
• In the last year, 61 people registered to become a volunteer with Reach out, 32 are actively training and beginning to work across the Reach Out project.

The project operates a drop-in office from the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road, while also delivering its services right across the Greater Belfast area.
The Reach Out team encourages people to drop-in or to contact the project themselves, as well as referring loved ones who might benefit from the supports on offer. Referrals can also be made by medical and social care professionals and others in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Celebrating the funding announcement, Charlie Mack, Extern, CEO, said: “At a time when the number of people whose lives are being impacted upon by substance & alcohol misuse, suicide, self-harm or mental health issues, is on the rise, this funding from the Department for Communities is extremely timely. As has been seen in our first year of the project, it is funding that will enable Extern to not only change lives, but to also save lives. If you live in Belfast and have been affected by substance or alcohol misuse, suicide, self-harm or mental health issues, then Extern’s Reach Out project is here for you, so please get in touch.

“In addition, as we celebrate Reach Out’s first birthday, I’d like to thank all our partners from the voluntary and community sectors who have worked with us in order to enable us to make such an impact on the ground. We are also grateful to the Belfast Trust, Education Authority and PSNI who every day help us to make such a difference for those people who are living in some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged parts of Belfast.”

The Reach Out team offers bespoke accredited training in the community and in local schools, including modules on positive mental health, healthy living and substance misuse awareness and prevention. The team also offers counselling and complementary therapies as part of the project, and runs a variety of health awareness events across Greater Belfast for communities to participate in. The project is also recruiting and training volunteers within the community to engage with and support its wide range of service users.

Anyone can visit the Reach Out project, refer a friend or family member, or volunteer either by dropping in to see the team or making contact. Offices are open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, or call 07442 533165, WhatsApp the team on 07442 533165 or email reachout@extern.org.

The team can also arrange to see young people in the evenings or weekends and the project offers fun and interactive community-based education and training, where young people can meet and talk to other people and also learn new skills.

Extern in Northern Ireland
Registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC105869
Company Registration No: NI 16083
Tel: +44 (0)28 9084 0555
Fax: +44 (0)28 9084 7333
Extern in the Republic of Ireland
Company Registration No: 383201
Registered Charity Number: CHY15770
Tel: +353 (0) 1 563 9402
Extern Group
Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC103226
Company No. NI 618684
Tel: +44 (0)28 9084 0555
Fax: +44 (0)28 9084 7333
Extern Supporting Communities
Company No. NI 637561
Tel: +44 (0)28 9084 0555
Fax: +44 (0)28 9084 7333