Interview with Joanne McCourt from Belfast Central Mission
Tell us a bit about yourself and/or your organisation.
I’ve been working for BCM (Belfast Central Mission) for over 16 years! It’s one of Northern Ireland’s oldest charities and although our head office is based in Belfast we work throughout the province. I manage a floating support service for young people aged 16-25 that helps young people find accommodation and develop their independent living skills. We cover Armagh, Dungannon and Magherafelt areas. I also manage a Parent Support Project which provides emotional and practical support to parents with a child under 17. I am really passionate about both our services but as a busy mum to four I love seeing the positive outcomes for our families who sometimes just need someone to listen and support them with the challenges of parenthood.
How well have you/your organisation adapted to the pandemic?
It has certainly been challenging but our team of support workers have adapted brilliantly, we moved to working from home in March 2020 but continued essential home visits, we have now become more tech savvy and our young people and Parents have had a hybrid approach with zoom calls, face time, garden gate visits, home visits and LOTS of walking and talking. We are a very fit team now :-).
For our young people affordable accommodation in the private rented sector is an ongoing issue and there is a lack of social housing available, both for our young people, parents and their children mental health is our current concern, we’ve also had an increase in referrals for parents who need help with ASD and for our 16-25 year olds this has also been an area of increased referrals. Bereavement support too is an emerging issue.
OFFER: What support are you currently offering and are you open to members of Community Network NI and/or the wider community?
For more details on any of our support services across the province, please get in touch with me and I am happy to direct you to the right person, we are open for referrals and happy to help.
If you would like to be connected with this offer of support, please follow the link below and enter “BCM” to the first field.