Women’s Aid ABCLN ‘Safe Haven Garden’ on final shortlist for People’s Millions

30 October, 2009

Women’s Aid in Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey are delighted to learn that they have reached the final 8 shortlisted projects in the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘People’s Millions’ competition. 

Their project, converting derelict outside space into a ‘Safe Haven Garden’ at the soon to be opened Antrim premises, caught the imagination of the judging panel. 

The Safe Haven is more than a garden. Presently, Women’s Aid has no outdoor space for the children who access their services each year – a total of 2754 children in the past year. The Safe Haven will create an environment where children and young people can interact with others, build confidence and develop self-esteem while being supported to explore and express their feelings about the experiences they have been through. 

Children have been referred to as the ‘hidden victims’ of domestic violence. Research has shown that children suffer from exposure to violence in a range of ways. A very high proportion of physical attacks are witnessed by children, and often, a child will feel compelled to intervene, risking themselves in the process. 

Summing up their hopes for the project, Fran O’Boyle, Services Manager stated:

‘This project is not just about creating a garden from a wilderness. The real potential of this project is in the ongoing transformations of young lives damaged by violence that could take place year after year if we could only offer this service. We would ask everyone to vote for us to turn this vision into reality’.

The Women’s Aid broadcast will air on UTV on 24th November. The phone number to vote for the project will be released on that day and can be found on www.peoplesmillions.org.uk. Lines will be open 9 am to 12 midnight.