Touching Base!

Staff, members and guests pictured during the launch of Coleraine Base at St. Patrick's Church Hall clubrooms last week.
Staff, members and guests pictured during the launch of Coleraine Base at St. Patrick's Church Hall clubrooms last week.

THE much lauded “Base” - a network of social and recreational centres for adults with learning difficulties - has now arrived in Coleraine.

The social and support drop-in centre opened its doors on Monday of last week offering local people a chance to meet up with friends and take part in community activities.

The Base is part of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s “Day Opportunities Programme” which offers adults with learning difficulties additional opportunities centred around the four main areas of recreation, vocation, volunteering and further education.

“It is aptly named as it provides a base to take part in a range of activities and acts as an outreach into the community to encourage social integration,” said, Garth Anderson, Day Opportunities Programme Manager for the Trust.

“Social and recreational activities are important to everyone. For people with learning disabilities the Base centre provides an opportunity to meet with friends and engage in leisure activities.”

The Day Opportunities Programme was set up following the recommendations of the Equal Lives Report and the Trust’s five year day services strategy “Widening Choice and Opportunities”.

The centres are set up as part of the recreational element of the Programme and so the Trust has developed a number of Base (“Drop-In”) facilities, in partnership with independent sector providers, across the Northern Trust area.

The “Coleraine Base” is run in partnership with Compass Advocacy Network Ltd and is situated within St Patrick’s Parish Centre, Brook Street, Coleraine. To celebrate its opening the Base held an open day last Monday to showcase the centre in operation. It provided the opportunity to tour the facility and meet with members to gain insight into how The Base operates.

Nicola Kennedy and Aymie Maxwell, Drop-In Coordinators for “The Base Coleraine”, said “This is a great opportunity for local people with a learning disability to come together and forge new friendships. It will allow these individuals to develop personally and socially, as well as providing a base where they can come and go from. It will provide the support to engage in community based leisure activities and will operate on the ethos that members will be involved in decision making and planning of activities.

“We would like to send a special thank you to Mountfern Adult Centre for their very kind donation of a Nintendo Wii games console to Coleraine Base. We would ask members of the public for their support and are very interested in hearing from anyone who would be keen to donate anything that may be of use to the centre, such as games, DVD’s, CD, computer games, etc. We are also currently recruiting for volunteers.”

If any of our readers are interested in donating or volunteering at the centre, they are asked to get in touch with either Nicola or Aymie at The Base Coleraine, St Patrick’s Parish Centre, 50 Brook Street, Coleraine, on 07542532172 or via email .

If you would like to consider attending yourself or make enquiries for a family member, referrals are made to this facility by your “Named Worker” with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust; Contact Learning Disability Team; 02870347871 (Coleraine) or 02825667150 (Ballymena).