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Autism Friendly Award for NID Disability Team

2nd Apr 2019

The Boys' Brigade Northern Ireland District Disability Network is the first team from a uniformed youth organisation in Northern Ireland to be awarded the prestigious Autism Friendly Award. This award has been developed by the National Autistic Society, and was awarded to the BB's Disability Network Team in recognition of the work they have done to educate and support Boys' Brigade Leaders working with young people with autism.

The team who all give their time and expertise on a voluntary basis, has delivered training within BB, provided individual BB Companies with support, produced an information leaflet and designed an App, available on both Android and Apple which enables youth leaders to welcome and support young people with autism.
Colin Millar, Chair of The Boys' Brigade NI District Disability Network Team said:
"The BB in Northern Ireland is committed to promoting inclusive practice throughout the organisation. I am delighted to have worked alongside my fellow BB Leaders, Irene Lowry and Walter Lambe developing support for young people with autism to help them fully participate and enjoy BB. Irene, Walter and myself have considerable joint experience working with young people with additional needs and are passionate about seeing all members of BB realise their full potential".

This award is highly significant as it is the first to be awarded to a team from a uniformed youth organisation in Northern Ireland. The Disability Network Team deservedly received the award in recognition of the considerable efforts they have made to ensure that autistic people and their families feel welcome, supported and get to enjoy activities that other young people take for granted.
The District Disability Network Team has also produced a series of disability leaflets for youth leaders, covering a range of 25 different disabilities that can affect young people, to enable the youth leaders to fully include children of all abilities in their BB activities. Copies of the leaflets are available from The Boys' Brigade NI Headquarters in Culcavy, Hillsborough, and they may be downloaded from their website at This is enhanced by the Disability App that is free on Apple and Android giving all youth leaders instant access to the disability help and information.
,Br> Shirelle Stewart the National Autistic Society NI's Director said: "We really are delighted to have presented our Autism Friendly Award to a team that's gone the extra mile to help autistic young people feel included. Often young people with autism don't feel they can attend youth organisations because the knowledge, understanding and support is not always available. This BB team has taken that extra step to ensure that autistic people feel included and understood"

Irish Youth Ministry Gathering 2019

8th Feb 2019

The Irish Youth Ministry Gathering (IYMG) is a unique three-day event for everyone who has a heart for young people. Youth workers, Youth leaders, clergy, parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles are all invited to come along and be inspired and equipped to reach young people. Youth Ministry is dynamic in nature and the IYMG will provide a space to discuss and reflect on the shifting landscape of youth culture and how we as people of faith can connect with what God is out there doing.

Our main theme is 'Family Centred Youth Ministry'. A famous African proverb tells us that it 'takes a village to raise a child' and this in mind we aim to support families to be a place of spiritual development and discipleship. In our main sessions we will explore how we create an inter-generational approach to ministry that enables individuals to feel the family of God around them and to come together in Christian communities in a meaningful ways.

From Thursday 16th May to Saturday 18th May the Assembly Buildings in Belfast will be a buzzing creative space filled with training, teaching, worship, mentoring, food and craic. Whether you are brand new to youth work or are an old hand, if you are paid or voluntary there is something for you. Why not come and join us to find new ideas and fresh passion for what God is doing.

The gathering has brought together churches and faith-based organisations from the Island of Ireland in an unprecedented way to provide you access to a wealth of knowledge and experience. As well as local organisations we are bringing together international speakers. Whether you are looking for deep theological teaching or how to engage with contemporary youth culture there will be a huge range of seminars and workshops to choose from and you are guaranteed to find what you are looking for. During the event we are also providing one to one coaching sessions with experienced youth workers.

This will be a fantastic opportunity to discuss your youth ministry and to gain valuable insight into the way forward.

· Internationally recognised speakers
· Engaging teaching and training
· Lots of seminars and workshops to choose from
· Inspiring biblical teaching and worship
· Time to reflect and to connect with others
· Practical support and fresh ideas
· Both encouragement and challenge to live for God

The IYMG will also be a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded people. People who are serving God in their own churches, youth organisations and ministries. It's a chance to meet with and talk to others who are facing the same challenges as you are. A chance to grow, to learn, to support, to nourish and encourage. A chance to gather.

Partner Organisations:
24-7 Prayer, Alpha, The Boys' Brigade NI District, Cast Ministries, Christ in Youth, Christian Aid, Church Lads' Brigade & Church Girls' Brigade, Church of Ireland Youth Dept, Crown Jesus Ministries, Exodus, The Girls' Brigade NI, IJM, Love for Life, Methodist Youth Dept, Operation Mobilisation, Scripture Union, Summer Madness, Tearfund, Urban Saints, YMCA, Youth For Christ, Youth Initiatives, Youth Link NI, YWAM.

We Made it Home!

27th Jul 2018

The Boys' Brigade Northern Ireland District 'Made their way Home' on a sponsored 35 mile walk from their previous Headquarters Rathmore in Larne to their newly renovated home at the former Newport Primary school in Culcavy, just outside Hillsborough On Saturday 23 June 2018.

NI District Vice-President Rev Dr Trevor McCormick and District Trustee Drew Buchanan MBE led a small but mighty band of walkers, some walking all and some walking part of the 35 mile route; making their way from Larne to Carrickfergus, along the Shore Road to Belfast City Centre then via Lisburn to Culcavy.

The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council Uel Mackin welcomed the walkers at the boundary of the Belfast and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area at Seymour Hill to cheer them on the final leg of their journey through Lisburn to Culcavy.
"It was a privilege for me to welcome the Boys Brigade NI District to Lisburn and Castlereagh as they neared the finish of their journey to their new home in Culcavy, right here in our Council area.

"As a current member and former Captain in the Boys Brigade, I have seen first-hand, the contribution that this wonderful organisation has made to the lives of so many boys and young men across generations. I am delighted that the Boys Brigade has chosen to make Culcavy its permanent home and I thank everybody involved for making it happen," said Councillor Mackin.

The BB Fundraising team led by Trevor McCormick initially set a £400,000 fundraising target for Newport back in 2014. Three years later and after many fundraising initiatives including filling smartie tubes with 20p coins, a cycle challenge, concerts, dinners etc the final target to clear the building and renovation debt at Newport is now just £7,000; once raised this will conclude the Newport Opening New Doors Appeal. The total amount invested in Newport including purchase is £800,000.

Speaking about the Making it Home fundraiser, lead organiser and walker Drew Buchanan said: 'I have over 54 years' experience in Boys' Brigade since joining the then Robins as a young 5 year old in 108th Belfast Company. I feel honoured to be a part of the transformation of Newport and to play a small part in equipping future generations of boys and young men to continue leading this great organisation. This walk has been a great challenge for me personally and I want to thank all who have supported me and the team today.'

17th Belfast BB Band (St John the Baptist, Blacks Road), led the walkers on a final parade from the nearby Halftown Community Hall to Newport. On arrival at Newport there was a celebration for the completion of the sponsored walk and all that has been achieved at Newport, to convert and equip the former Primary School into the modern office, training, conference and residential centre it is today. Boys of all ages from BB Companies in various parts of NI competed in a 'Just for Laughs' competition outside on the green.

Local band Dynamic Brass played the walkers home through the gates of Newport with a 'Congratulations' fanfare and then entertained invited guests and members of BB during a drinks reception; followed by the unveiling of the bricks purchased through a fundraising Buy a Brick scheme. The bricks were unveiled by some of the youngest members of the organisation, from 1st Hillsborough BB; thereafter there was a free Barbeque for everyone and more live music around the camp fire in the grounds of Newport.

Speaking about the new Centre at Newport the Centre Manager Alison Irvine said:
'Last year The Boys' Brigade Northern Ireland District either trained or facilitated the training of over 1200 adults and young men (aged 16 - 18) in leadership skills. The new facilities at Newport include a residential centre accommodating up to 40 in dormitories along with a modern training room and well equipped catering kitchen. The centre is open for business for groups outside the BB membership.
'Guests staying so far have included a sports team from Canada in April on a 10 day visit to NI, a BB football team from England and BB Chess teams from England and Scotland visiting to take part in a BB National final, also hosted at Newport. The conference and training spaces are available to hire with a full range of catering options to choose from. Newport has fantastic outdoor spaces too with beautiful grounds, picnic area and on-site parking; it is a joy to spend time at whether working or relaxing.'

The Boys' Brigade NI District gratefully acknowledges the funding received for all the work carried out at Newport in the last 3 years from the Alpha Programme, Garfield Weston, PEACE IV, The Beatrice Laing Trust, and Ulster Garden Villages along with a technology equipment grant received from the Department for Communities.

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