Safe Haven Garden Party

30 April, 2012


Women’s Aid in Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey were today (27th April) delighted to welcome guests to their completed Safe Haven Garden for children and young people. 
The organisation secured £49,811 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Peoples’ Millions competition to transform derelict and overgrown space to the rear of ‘Grace House’, the Women’s Aid Antrim office, into a purpose built garden for children and young people.
Women’s Aid ABCLN supported 4,098 children and young people in the year 2010-2011, either in schools, through group work and for some on a one-to-one basis. 
The Safe Haven Garden will provide a very valuable addition to the services the organisation can currently offer children and young people; the garden will be a safe place for young people to meet with qualified workers, who will support them to cope with the impact of domestic abuse within their families and on their lives.
Rosemary Magill MBE, Area Manager of Women’s Aid ABCLN, thanked supporters who helped make the Safe Haven project a reality.“It took a great deal of vision when Women’s Aid first acquired the premises in Antrim to realise what potential lay within,” she explained.    
She continued: “We were able to create Grace House, providing much needed space to provide services for local women who needed our help and support – an average of 1,210 each year. 
“The creation of the Safe Haven garden from overgrown waste ground provided us with our next challenge, and we would like to thank the Big Lottery Fund for their support in making it a reality that we can stand here today in this beautiful place’. 
Speaking at the event, Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI committee member, said: “The People's Millions competition is a fantastic opportunity for lottery players to have a direct say in where their lottery pound is spent.
“The competition supports projects that make a difference in their local community and Women’s Aid’s Safe Haven Garden is a perfect example of this.”
Womens’ Aid are now looking to the future with their ‘Make it Better’ campaign which will fundraise for a centre for children and young people adjacent to the Safe Haven garden. 
They have extended their sincere thanks to the PSNI, locally and regionally, for their financial and practical support for Grace House from the outset. During the event, Assistant Chief Constable, George Hamilton, was presented with a picture of the Safe Haven Garden by 10 year old Dana Kernoghan. 
Also present at the event was Pam Brown MLA, who officially opened Grace House while Mayor of Antrim in 2010, and who received an Onus Special Recognition Award in June 2011 for her enduring support for the work of the organisation. 
Pam presented Women’s Aid volunteer, Christine Corrigan, with a certificate awarded to her by the Institute of Fundraising, in the category of The Bryan Walliker Fundraising Volunteer of the Year.
Grace House is at 17 Fountain Street, Antrim. Anyone experiencing domestic violence can access support by calling the 24hr Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 917 1414. 
- ENDS -

For further information contact Lindsay Harris, Women’s Aid ABCLN or email:
Notes to Editor
Women’s Aid is dedicated to providing refuge, support, information and training to women and children who are suffering abuse within the home, in the Ballymena, Antrim, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey areas. 
For more information about our work visit:
Every penny raised supports women and children in your community.
Donations can be made by:

Women’s Aid ABCLN
Naomi Centre
2 Cullybackey Road
Ballymena BT43 5DF
T 028 2563 2136

Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne & Newtownabbey is a charity recognised by the HM Revenue and Customs No. XR 13095 Company limited by guarantee No.NI 054434