Carrickfergus Women’s Forum – how they are using the Big Lottery Fund 10th Birthday grant

Members of Carrickfergus Women’s Forum took part in Express Yourself, a project funded with a £10,000 award that the group won in Big Lottery Fund’s 10th birthday competition last year.

Carrickfergus Women’s Forum promotes good mental health in the local area through a range of services. This Big Lottery Fund 10th Birthday funded project enabled them to explore their creativity through African drumming, writing, singing, mindful movement and film-making. They also produced a book of creative writing and a DVD and performed as a choir at local venues, such as nursing homes.

Project coordinator Anne Magill said: “The DVD shows what the Forum offers and also features some of the women telling their stories. It is a valuable resource for women coming to the Forum for the first time, who are perhaps feeling anxious and finding it hard to concentrate. They can access information at their own pace and feel reassured by the stories of the current members.”

The DVD will also be shared with other agencies so that they understand the types of services the Forum offers and provides.

One member, Ruby, has lived with mental ill-health for a number of years and received counselling and support at the Forum which is helping with her recovery.

“The things that bring women here could happen to anybody,” said Ruby. “But attending the Forum has absolutely changed my life. They haven’t got a magic wand but they’ll give you the tools to make sense of it all. When you can make sense of something you can almost find a peace with it.”

The counselling has been tough but vital for Ruby, and she said activities such as the drumming and writing are also important. “Those activities open you up more to life,” she said. “I have peace in my heart and in my head that I have never had.”

Back to NI Tenth birthday website

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