Students and staff at Slemish College, Ballymena, welcomed Baroness May Blood of the Integrated Education Fund and Sir Bruce Robinson of the Irish American Partnership (IAP) on Thursday (14 February). The guests were delighted to open officially the College’s new ‘wellness’ room which was funded by their respective organisations. A former science store has been transformed thanks to generous donations totalling £8000 and Baroness Blood and Sir Bruce were interested to see how the money has been spent.
The college has developed a strategy to help students “find their voice” and a group sat down with the visitors in the new wellness room to talk about how they can access support from a drop-in “listening service” when struggling with everyday challenges.
The pupils described how, with soundproofing, a kitchen and comfortable furnishings, the room is a welcoming and relaxing space.
Baroness Blood discussed the importance of sharing and being listened to as she met the Slemish IC ‘Listening Lady’ – Noelle Monaghan – and she praised students who have the courage to take the initiative to talk about their worries.
The college strategy to encourage students to ‘find their voice’ is also working to build students’ capacity and confidence. May and Sir Bruce went on to meet a number of Sixth Form students, sharing inspirational stories about how one voice can make a difference through various platforms including radio and TV broadcasts and events such as last year’s ListenUP! hosted by Integrated AlumNI.
The staff and students concluded by thanking Baroness Blood and Sir Bruce for supporting integrated education and for helping to offer so many opportunities to the young people of Northern Ireland.
Click here to learn more about ListenUP!.
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