FASA EDEN Project involves FASA setting up a Rural Social Economy Facility based around FASA Services, Eco Therapy/horticulture, Crafts, Coffee Shop, Family support and Outdoor Pursuit Activities, Community Safety Initiatives i.e. StreetSafe (Detached work with young underage drinkers).
The overall aims of EDEN will be to Reduce Isolation, Promote Community Safety, Reduce Alcohol and Drug related Crime and Promote Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing in the rural area of the Ards Peninsula but with very practical elements that can have many other positive impacts in this rural community such as; employment, skills training, tourism, enhancing local economy in the area.
Background to FASA EDEN
This project has been developed and driven by the needs of local people. Suicides have affected many if not all of the villages and areas of the Peninsula, Young People and Underage drinking is a common theme and concern .
An old building yard and connected large commercial derelict site, owned by N G Bell and Sons and situated on the Main street of Ballywalter. N G Bell and Sons have been a corporate partner with FASA in this exciting new project and have been fully supportive in the both the work we do and the potential change the project will make to both the residents and look of the village. Through engagement with local people on an individual basis and our ongoing work with local authorities, FASA recognised the need to reach across the rural area of the Peninsula and ensure we remove the barriers to service provision but also make a positive impact on the local community of Ballywalter by creating new projects for local people to get involved. FASA believe in building the capacity of local individuals, Families and Communities to address social issues and empowering people to work together – will improve the quality of life and community safety of all.
Mental Health & Well-being and Community Safety is a concern for everyone.
We are aiming to:
- Promote protective factors and reduce risk factors across this rural community
- Ensure access to key services for those in crisis or need of support
- Remove barriers to people in need of support and encouragement to develop to their full potential
- Create employment opportunities through promoting entrepreneurship, training, on the job skills and support
- Provide Community Safety Initiatives in conjunction with other local partners, PSNI and Community Safety Partnerships reducing Anti Social Behaviour and Crime in local areas
- Support local Community and Statutory Providers across the Peninsula with our specialised Services
- Continue to work with local Schools, Youth Providers, Health & Wellbeing providers to reduce the amount of young people who need direction and support, build resiliency and coping skills, provide alternatives to alcohol and drug use, support them when they come into contact with the justice system and provide a positive route to change their behaviour and build confidence and self esteem for their future.
- FASA are presently looking to secure a range of funding to enable the implementation and delivery of the vision of FASA EDEN with its various strands; which will in itself enhance the economy of the local area bringing employment, increase local business sales – essential in the present economic climate.
FASA have an excellent reputation and support for the services they provide to Individuals, Families and Communities regarding issues of Crisis, Suicide, Self Harm, Substance Misuse and Mental Health and Wellbeing. This has many strands including prevention, intervention, treatment, crisis response, community safety – working with schools, local community groups, families, vulnerable people and young people at risk.
This Project will be specifically be aimed at prevention, early intervention and ongoing support with some of the following:
- Horticulture/Eco Therapy – Working with plants and the soil is renowned and evidenced across the world to improve isolation and build social skills, which will prove essential in this rural area
- Coffee Shop - Specifically developed to enable people to socialise in an alcohol free environment, make friends, find a hobby and get information on local services if they need it
- Crafts – We will be providing a range of crafts – pottery, Bisque, Card-Making, Stained Glass and other as identified by local community
- Music Studio – This will be for all ages and will include: Music lessons in guitar etc, singing, recording but also local groups can access the studio to record their own CD’s – again this is to provide people in the local area with a hobby/interest so getting people out and involved. (This will be fully sound proofed/supervised)
- Outdoor Pursuit Activities – This will enable all ages but especially young people to experience positive ways to spend their free time and enhance their confidence and self esteem at the same time. Evidence underpins this approach promoting positive, protective factors and reducing risk taking behaviour through experiential learning.
FASA have been developing social enterprises for the following reasons:
- They provide meaningful skills development and employment opportunities to our clients, families and communities and a progression route from training to the world of work
- They allow us to be less reliant on public funding and move towards self-sufficiency - essential to charities of today
- They are a vehicle by which we can sustain our provision of therapeutic and support services to individuals, families and communities in the long-term
FASA strive to empower clients by providing them with person-centred services and onsite skills development to promote personal development and interpersonal skills enhancing positive mental health. The success of FASA both as a social enterprise and as a service provider has been achieved through the development of a secure, encouraging work environment. FASA operates within a social economy model and in itself is aiming to operate as a self sustaining entity- a key aspect of the organisation’s sustainability strategy.
Social Economy element (Main Street, Ballywalter)
U Create Craft Studio – A craft/pottery element for people to partake in structured fun time together, reducing isolation, promoting interaction and support and creating great keepsakes.
Cup Cake Coffee Shop – A coffee shop only – no food will be provided! To ensure the project will not impinge on other businesses in the area, it will be promoted as a place for people to go to have a coffee and chat, interact with their friends and have time out in a tranquil environment and access information on support services available in this area if needed – once again emphasising the ethos of the Project to reduce isolation and promote positive mental and health and wellbeing. This may also be used in the evenings to provide a drop in service for young people (13– 18) once again promoting social interaction and alcohol free environment.
Blossom Garden Centre - Horticulture/Eco Therapy is an evidence based way of working with horticulture and people, promoting positive mental health benefits to those who take part. Any profits raised will go directly into services, training and employment opportunities for the local area.
FASA Services – FASA will promote access to its operational services of Targeted Education, Treatment, Intervention, Training and Suicide Crisis Response, as well as the STREETSAFE initiative with PSNI and the possibility of STREETKYDS both of which are engaging on an outreach basis with Young People. This area of work will enable FASA to empower people and allow progression into other areas of EDEN, continuously building skills and improve quality of life. FASA will have key links to other organisations that will enable people to progress into employment and other services.
Music Studio and Recording – A fantastic Music Studio where people of all ages can practice skills they already have , learn new instruments in our music Masterclasses and create and record their own CDs. Providing an exciting diversion for Young People, a hobby or find our own genuine artists to promote to stardom.
Outdoor Activity Centre – FASA presently deliver a Natural Highs programme that costs the agency over £30,000 per annum – these resources will be put towards supporting our own Activity Centre which will deliver services and programmes regarding promoting ways to enjoy Natural Highs rather than looking for artificial highs through the use of drugs (including reliance on prescribed medication), alcohol – this will also provide opportunities for appropriate local people to be skilled up in sports related training and potentially gain employment. This is a prevention/intervention model ensuring we build confidence, self esteem and education to ensure those participating make positive health choices.
We will work with local equestrian providers to provide Equine Assisted Growth and Learning (EAGAL) is a collaborative process involving a qualified counsellor and an equine specialist working with clients and horses to assist growth and learning goals. This short-term intervention has demonstrated hard outcomes and benefits for a range of clients. The approach is widely documented in North America and has expanded to Europe in the last five years. Projects are well established in England and Scotland; This is a groundbreaking approach to therapy – there is no physical project in NI implementing this approach…. MACS in Belfast have piloted this approach in NI with a number of Young People
Horticulture Centre – If Required in the future (Off Dunover Road, Ballywalter) around ½ a mile from the Main Street site, we have secured a Green Field Site with 3 x Large Outbuildings. This can be developed (subject to planning) include Garden Plots, additional Polytunnels, with Eco therapy support and ethos i.e. Wind Turbine, water catchment etc.