Phoenix goes from strength to strength

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THE autumn programme of activities run by Phoenix ADHD Project, which supports children and young people aged 8 to 20 with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, begin on Monday, October 1.

Most of these take the form of after school activities although some programmes are also run at schools and other youth organisations.

ADHD, which affects five percent of young people up the age of 18, is the result of an abnormality of the frontal lobe of the brain which is responsible for concentration, self-control and thought processing with 5% still presenting with symptoms into adulthood.

Young people with ADHD have difficulty concentrating, are easily distracted, have difficulty retaining information, are usually hyperactive (but not always), struggle academically, find it difficult to cope within mainstream education, have poor social skills and low self-esteem.

If untreated ADHD often results in lower than expected academia, relationship breakdown sometimes resulting in early removal from the family home, addiction problems, isolation as a result of poor social skills, the development of serious mental health problems, domestic violence, criminal activity and unwanted pregnancies.

Funding success

The Phoenix Project receives 80% of its main programme costs from the BIG Lottery Reaching/Empowering Young People programme.

Last month the Project was notified that an application to Children In Need was successful and funding, which is for a three year period, will be used to introduce Youth Mentoring Programme.

Once the Youth Mentor Coordinator is in post 15 volunteer mentors will be recruited. These volunteers will then be required to complete Youth Mentoring OCN Level 2 training before being matched with a young person with ADHD.

Anyone interested in knowing more should contact the office at Ballycastle Road, Coleraine. The Project was also awarded a grant of from the BIG Lottery Awards for All Programme for some capital items for the Phoenix Youth programme.

Young People’s Programmes

Programmes being run for young people include: -

* Why Try;

* Social Skills;

* Personal Development;

* Transition Club;

* Forest School;

* Club Phoenix;

* Phoenix Youth

* Youth Mentoring (to commence in January 2013).

Other Programmes/Support

The Phoenix ADHD Project works in partnership with the families and carers of young people with ADHD and their schools offering: Parenting ADHD sessions; Teacher training on ADHD awareness and behavioural management; Home and school support; and a Drop in Advice and Information Service.

In July this year an Adult ADHD Support Group was formed. Adults who either already have a diagnosis of ADHD or think they have ADHD but have never been diagnosed are encouraged to contact the office for more information.

Impact of Phoenix ADHD Project to date

Since the Phoenix ADHD Project started in August 2008 162 young people have been referred to the project, 54 of whom are currently receiving support.

The Project has a waiting list with a waiting time of around three months for a place on a young person’s programme, although during this time parents can commence on the Parents Programme and receive support and advice.

Phoenix continues to get excellent evaluations showing improved self-esteem, academic performance and confidence. Young people are also exhibiting better social skills, enjoying better family relations and improved behaviour at school.

One 16-year-old boy said: “When I went to Phoenix I realised I was not the only person with ADHD and I benefit from mixing with other young people facing similar problems and issues.”

One of the parents and a director on the Management Board commented: “We all received the rewards from this amazing bunch of people at Phoenix and my boys are turning into fine young men and enjoy everything the support group has to offer, from parenting classes to summer schemes.

“We are a close family and things could have gone so badly wrong but with the right intervention and support from Phoenix my boys are doing great.”

Jo Dwyer, senior educational psychologist and advisory representative on the Management Board, added: “I continue to be impressed by the changes Phoenix can bring about in children and their families”.

In June a DVD was produced by the young people and some parents about what it is like living with ADHD and about the Phoenix ADHD Project. Copies are available from the office at a cost of £3.

2012 Achievement Event

Phoenix ADHD Project ran its second Achievement Event at the end of August.

This year it took the form of a Family Fun Evening in the Trim Trail at Somerset Forest with each family being given a list of tasks to complete and items to find. This was followed by a barbecue and the presentation of awards.

This year the Angie Young Achievement Award was presented to 15 year-old Robert Morrow who has shown improvement in many areas over the year by Maria Rankin, Angie’s mum.

Angie was a director with the Project until she passed away in May 25 last year.

Jamie Caldwell was presented with a Recognition Award Cup. Jamie is the oldest of the young people at the Project and has been a volunteer helper with the younger groups, with fundraising activities and other duties.

Forthcoming events

Wednesday, September 26: Parent’s Workshop, 7.00pm at Ballycastle Road premises.

Saturday, September 29 – Fundraising bag pack at Sainsbury’s, Coleraine from 11.00am to 5.00pm (volunteers helpers required).

Anyone wanting information about the Project should contact the office at 1 Ballycastle Road, Coleraine, BT52 2DY, or by telephone on 028 7000 2050, or email info@phoenixadhdproject.org. Information is also available on the website: www.phoenixadhdproejct.org