During the current crisis Listening Ear has continued to support and work in the community. 200 cleaning packs were recently delivered to homes. Three raised flower beds were planted at the entrances to Rushpark.
Covid-19 has had a major impact on the Rathcoole area. The area has lost members of the community to the virus, people have been in lockdown, social life as we knew it has disappeared, social isolation and anxiety has increased, families have lost jobs and incomes. However, it has also brought promising signs of a community starting to work together for the betterment of all.
Listening Ear based in the Dunanney Centre has played an active role in supporting and assisting the community during this time.
To support mental health and suicide prevention an out of hours helpline has been launched to allow for an empathic ear to be available when someone needs it. This service was supported by donations from a member of the community in memory of his late Grandmother and Councillor Robert Foster. It is our belief that this out of hours number has saved one life in the last month. Listening Ear has also installed a new voip phone system which has allowed us to launch a telephone calling service for those wanting support and assistance while impacted by anxiety, depression, PTSD, social isolation and postnatal depression. These calls can be scheduled for daily, weekly or monthly and as always with Listening Ear is confidential.
The furlough of individuals, job losses and loss of income has impacted a lot of the community. The Listening Ear office volunteers have been able to assist and support these individuals and families with Universal credit claims.
Listening Ear has taken a lead role in the supply and distribution of emergency food hampers to individuals and families. These hampers have been funded via Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership. The supply of these hampers has ensured that food was available when needed. In addition to the emergency food hampers Listening Ear has worked closely with Cathy Hall, Deprivation Officer, in the organising and weekly distribution of 180 DFC hampers and frozen meals in the area. These hampers and meals are delivered by 20 volunteer drivers, all of whom provide their time, cars and fuel free of charge. It is positive to see volunteers coming from local football clubs, bands, Orange Lodges, Churches, Community Groups, Councillors and individuals from the community all working together to ensure that those in need receive this support.
Another role Listening Ear has been able to support on is assisting the local pharmacy. We have delivered prescriptions and volunteered for the door to free staff up for counter work.
Listening Ear and Abbey Allsorts again supported by Rathcoole Neighbourhood renewal, have been preparing and delivering Children’s activity packs during the Covid-19 emergency. The latest packs have been delivered to children with additional needs. A large percentage of these packs have been specially assembled for the needs of the individual child.
This is a quick synopsis of the work undertaken by Listening Ear over the last 7 weeks on top of its normal work. If you find yourself in need of any of the items, we have written about please do not hesitate to contact us.
Facebook: Listening Ear Newtownabbey
M&S Community support
Since the need for emergency food hampers was identified as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Listening Ear has received weekly food donations from M&S Newtownabbey for inclusion.
These donations have come from the Company, the Manager and the staff. In additional to these donations the staff have been running a weekly raffle with the money raised used to purchase additional food to be donated.
These donations are making a big difference to those in need of assistance and we wish to record our thanks to the M&S team.
After hours phone service
We would like to announce the launch of our new after hours phone service for the Newtownabbey area. This service is for those who are vulnerable due to isolation, in need or in crisis.
Telephone or text 07759018263 (in confidence)
We are here to support and assist.
Covid 19 community response
Listening Ear has been working via Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership responding to the emerging needs of the community during the Covid 19 crisis. DFC food hampers, emergency food hampers, ready meals and prescription deliveries have been delivered within the area to those shielding, isolating and in need.
Listening Ear Volunteers have also been actively supporting the community with changes in benefits, income, housing, social isolation and anxiety as a direct result of the crisis.
It is positive to see all the community groups, volunteers, Churches, Good Morning Newtownabbey, Councillors and Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council employees working together.
Listening Ear in the Community
Listening Ear have had a busy start to March 2020. It started with our attendance at the Irish Congress of Trade Union Learning Fair, a meeting with NIO officials to discuss the needs of Rathcoole, a tour of Stormont and then organising a Health Fair in Rathcoole, all by the 12th March.
As a result a lot of positive engagement with Trade Unions, Government officials, Politicians, statutory bodies,community groups, local businesses, charities and voluntary groups.
Listening Ear had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the Finale of Legasi at Ten Square, Belfast on the 4th February. Legasi supported Listening Ear at the start with capacity building and training which helped the idea grow.
A very positive evening.
The Belfast Telegraph reported>
A woman who underwent a double mastectomy has praised a radical working-class loyalist programme for helping her keep going.
LEGaSi is a five-year funding initiative which has transformed community services in places like Rathcoole in North Belfast.
Jillian Kettley is four years after a cancer diagnosis and relied on the Listening Ear counselling service established by the international philanthropic intervention in the estate.
She said: “It scares me to think about what possibly could have happened if it had not been there because there really is not anything out there.”
She had received a period of counselling before, but said she was left to cope during her lengthy road back to health.
She added: “It takes a long time to recover.
“You are not the same person and your mental health is never the same again, your whole outlook is never the same again.
“Listening Ear helped me to come back and find a little bit of the Jillian before cancer – to make life worthwhile again.”
An evening with Bryan Phillips
Listening Ear had the pleasure of An Evening with Bryan Phillips in the fourth of the series of these sessions. Bryan a Veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts spoke on growing up in Rathcoole, joining the army, a tour of Iraq, a winter tour of Afghanistan, a summer tour of Afghanistan, being injured by an IED, recovering as a double amputee, his children and the future.
The conversation with Bryan explored his positive approach to life before and after his injuries, the development of his Leadership abilities and how these were clearly displayed especially in the period of the IED attack and its aftermath. The combat events that Bryan witnessed and lived through were powerful for those attending and listening.
The Listening Ears were joined by residents from Rathcoole and all present are indebted to Bryan for imparting his journey to this point in life.
An evening with William Burns
Listening Ear had the pleasure of An Evening with William Burns in the third of the series of these sessions. William spoke on family, Jamie’s death, online trolling, the impact of the loss of a son directly on him and his family, his grandchildren and the future.
The conversation with William highlighted the great bond he had with his son and how the impact of his loss had impacted William’s own health.
The Listening Ears were joined by some of the youth from the Rathcoole area and it was powerful and emotional for all in attendance to listen to Williams journey to this point in life.
"Mighty Women in the charity sector"
Congratulations to Karen Phillips, one of our Listening Ear Volunteers. Karen has been nominated for the "Mighty Women in the charity sector" awards for her work via Listening Ear.
Recognition of the valuable support and assistance she is providing to the community.
An evening with Paula Bradley MLA
Listening Ear had the pleasure of “An evening with Paula Bradley MLA” on the 24th October. Paula spoke on her life and how she has got to this point.
Paula gave an open and honest account of the highs and lows she has had in her personal life. Her accounts of being caught in a mortar bomb, working four jobs at a time to try to make ends meet, debt and surviving cervical cancer were fascinating for those in attendance.
Paula’s political work and career was another fascinating part of the evening. Paula spoke of her entry into politics and how it progressed, via council, Mayor, MLA and to Chair of the Health Committee. Her commitment to Women’s right & progress and health were also other subjects covered.
Paula’s support and co-sponsoring of several events at Stormont provided an understanding of the person behind the politician.
The event provided those in attendance the opportunity to understand how it is to walk in another’s shoes.
An evening with Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston
A positive and beneficial night for the Listening Ears and the community.
Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston provided an open and honest conversation.
An evening with.....
Listening Ear Newtownabbey invite you to A SERIES OF “AN EVENING WITH…”
“An evening with…” will provide a unique opportunity for the guest to be interviewed on life and how they have got to this point.
Venue: Room 27, Dunanney Centre, Rathmullan Drive, Rathcoole, BT37 9DQ.
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston: 26th September 2019.
Paula Bradley MLA: 24th October 2019
William Burns: 28th November 2019
Opening Of Listening Ear Newtownabbey Office
Wednesday 3rd July 2019 seen the official opening of the Listening Ear office in the Dunanney Centre Rathcoole. The event was attended by Peter Sheridan CEO Co-Operation Ireland, Dr Alan Largey Co-Operation Ireland, Paula Bradley MLA, Councillors Billy Webb, Robert Foster, Stephen Ross, Dean McCullough and Thomas Hogg, PSNI, DoC, and numerous groups and individuals from the Newtownabbey area.
Listening Ear has been established to support and assist the community with Mental health, suicide prevention, drug & alcohol awareness and debt and welfare advise.
The audience were addressed by Brian Kerr, Karen Phillips and Daphne Logue advising how Listening Ear was established, its achievements to date, the professional background support and its goals for the future.
Mr Peter Sheridan spoke on the success of the Legasi program and the developments that have arisen. He congratulated Listening Ear on their achievements in a short period and hoped that their success continued.
A question and answer session on Listening Ear was then held with questions being taken from the audience.