Goal Line Youths get creative

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Goal Line Youth Centre at Chambers Park in Portadown has recently enjoyed a number of arts and creative events.

Thanks to a CLEAR grant - which supports innovative interventions and programmes which promote positive mental health and emotional well-being - from the Public Health Agency (PHA), Goal Line was able to continue its work with young people who have disabilities (learning, physical or sensory) and individual needs.

Over the years Goal Line has worked with young people who have had a wide range of disabilities including Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Down’s Syndrome, developmental delays, speech and other problems.

In order to benefit from the PHA CLEAR Grant, Goal Line opted for a number of self-initiatives based around art and creative therapies, and several physical activity programmes that tested the young people in the sports hall in a variety of activities and team challenges.

The young people benefitted from, and thoroughly enjoyed, a wide range of activities which saw personal development and well-being very much to the fore.

Youth Support Worker Maxine Chambers said: “For the young people, being able to work in a group and develop their confidence and then to be able to voice their opinions and their own interpretation of things has been fantastic through Jason’s workshops. Through Trevor’s ceramic flower work it was a chance for them to deal with sensory issues, overcome issues with messy clay and that sort of thing.

“Some of them were afraid to get their hands dirty or put them into the clay but when they saw people doing it they knew that it was ok. And when it came to painting the flowers it was brilliant, they loved all that – the outcome was superb and they were delighted to see what actually came at the end of the project with the flowers forever, flowers for their parents and the parents were amazed that the children had made those.

“The fitness sessions were great in getting them into the sports hall and getting them involved in activities that they may not have tried before or at all – the New Age curling and boccia were good examples and it was good to see them having great fun indoors in something they can all do.”

The grant also enabled Goal Line to facilitate a talk about strategies for dealing with difficult behaviours in young people. The talk was given by Dr Kate Kirk, a psychodrama psychotherapist from the Isle of Man. It was well attended by family, principals of primary schools, teachers, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators, social workers, doctors and youth workers.