Empower Project continues to go from strength to strength


The Empower Project has launched an ambitious new programme to support families in Mid Ulster & Antrim & Newtownabbey Council areas with children who are on the autism spectrum, are dyslexic or dyspraxic. Between Easter and the end of June, the planned programme of 46 different activities will include creative play and storytelling sessions, as well as workshops to address some areas of concern for families, such as ASD and Anger, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), Toileting and Food and Mood.

The focus of the Empower Project is to provide a supportive network for parents and the wider family circle of children (aged 12 years and under) who have autism, are dyslexic or dyspraxic. The various activities are designed to enhance the children’s confidence and help families learn together and develop skills to support each other.

Now in the penultimate year of a five-year programme, the initiative which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund NI, provides valuable support to families. Already this year, it has organised 136 different activities, catering for 1450 participants.  Since its launch in August 2015, the Empower Project has hosted a total of 613 activities for almost 7000 participants.

Empower activities this year have included Lego, Circus Skills, Go Fly Your Kite, Claycrazy, Primary Colours Sensory Arts and Crafts sessions, as well as Carers’ Coffee Mornings and Sensory Saturdays which provide additional support for families.

Empower Project manager, Marie McCloy said the events are an ideal opportunity for families to learn from each other and exchange ideas on how to develop the skills and confidence needed to support their child in the best possible way.

“These activities give families the motivation to go somewhere together and facilities provided by the Empower Project have helped to create a safe and secure environment where everyone can relax and enjoy family time together.

“Families have told us that the support they get from the Empower Project has been invaluable and has had a positive impact on the mental health, confidence and social skills of all the family.”

Lynette McCord, whose son Richard completed an Empower Project cycling proficiency course, said it was a big hit with her son.

“Richard has now got a new bike and is telling anyone who will listen that he has just learnt to ride a bike. The confidence he has got is amazing. The joy on the faces of the other parents when the children peddled their bikes was priceless. Something so simple means a lot to us so again, thank you.”

All Empower Project activities are free to attend. For further information about   Empower Project’s programme of events, go to www.empowernetwork.co.uk or telephone 028 7939 5237/028 7939 5245.