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Carrick Connect: Empowering Youth and Community

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Carrick Connect was co-founded in 2014 by Tracey McNickle, Jonny Ewart. Initially, we started with a weekend drop-in service for young people aged 11-25. Over the past decade, we’ve evolved into an organization offering a wide range of bespoke programs tailored to community needs.

In 2022, Carrick Connect was honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) and received a royal visit from the Prince and Princess of Wales. Additionally, Tracey was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM), a truly humbling recognition of our efforts.

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary in November this year, we reflect on our remarkable journey and look forward to the future with optimism and excitement.

Current Projects

Mentoring Our mentoring team consists of 13 dedicated volunteers who meet with young people weekly, offering support, a listening ear, and coping mechanisms to navigate their teenage years. Access this service via private message on our mentoring Facebook page, Connect 2 U.

 

Tutoring We offer free tutoring for secondary school students, focusing on GCSE and A-level studies. Sessions are held in the conference room of Dobbins Hotel. Reach out to us through our tutoring Facebook page, Connect 4.

 

Railtastic Every Saturday, our outreach team engages with young people at local train stations and surrounding areas, fostering trust, discouraging anti-social behaviour, and encouraging positive choices. This program extends along the Larne line with support from NIR.

 

Connect with the Homeless We run four 10-week programs annually to raise awareness of homelessness. Participants experience firsthand the work of homeless services, challenge stereotypes, and understand the value of volunteering. Many participants have gone on to volunteer with Belfast Homeless Services.

 

Scrum Our weekly parent support group provides a safe space for parents to talk, receive support, and access relevant services. We assist with phone calls and offer reassurance that they are not alone in dealing with family issues.

 

Love/Hate Project Our weekly history group explores the Holocaust and its lessons, aiming to conclude with a trip to Krakow to visit the concentration camps. This project has been an educational journey for all involved.

Our Team and Challenges

Our committed volunteers are dedicated to making a difference and have a passion for empowering young people, the future generation. Despite our successes, we face challenges in securing sustained funding. Many of our projects operate without financial backing, making community support crucial.

We appreciate any contributions to help keep our programs free and effective. Donations can be made through our GoFundMe page, linked on our Carrick Connect Facebook page.

For inquiries, please contact Tracey at tracey@carrickconnect.co.uk.

Together, we can continue to make a positive impact in our community.

Tracey McNickle, Project Coordinator

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