A local community mental health project lifted a major prize at the prestigious Pride of Place community awards in Dublin on Saturday evening (January 21).‘A Safe Space to be Me’ won the Community Wellbeing Initiative Category on the 20th anniversary of the competition.
A ‘Safe Space to be Me’ was born in March 2016 to help people develop their emotional wellbeing. It very quickly grew from a very small grass roots community group based in Antrim to one that now has two main bases in Crumlin and Antrim and five satellite offices across the Northern Trust locality. The group was also awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2021, the highest award given to voluntary organisations.
The group hosts a wide range of activities to enrich the lives of the local residents including a Community Food Bank and The Nurture Cafe to tackle food poverty and a ‘Good Morning’ project to challenge loneliness.
For young people the group offer ‘Hideout Youth Zone’ and ‘Stay & Play’ baby and toddler group. The project also offers free workshops including Moo Music for Children, ASD Carer Support Group and Team Group, Crochet and Knitting Friendship Club, Handy Homemaking and a Photography Class.
Judges praised the project for its inclusivity and impact. “The work of this group is at the heart of the community – accessible to all. It is community participation with a holistic approach.”
Two other projects were nominated by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for the following categories:
- Urban Neighbourhoods/Villages: Whiteabbey Village Business Association
- Housing Estates: Bawnmore and District Residents Association
Both of these projects were runners up in their category.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross said, “I am delighted to congratulate ‘A Safe Space to be Me’ on their well-deserved winning success and both Whiteabbey Village Business Association and Bawnmore and District Residents Association for their very worthy runner up positions.
“Awards like these may inspire our other local community groups to strive for similar success. This recognition is a true testament to the selfless dedication and commitment these groups express to enrich their local communities.”