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by Gordon Robinson in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 16th December 2020 we successfully raised £1,440 ( + est. £212.50 Gift Aid ) with 40 supporters in 36 days

Fresh Start is helping people find freedom from life controlling habits in a confidential and secure environment.

by Gordon Robinson in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Extra funding will enable us continue the project into future years.

Where are we
Ballymoney is a small rural town near the world famous Giants Causeway heritage site on the north coast of Northern Ireland.

What are we    Ballymoney Community Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is mainly a debt counselling service but through working with over 130 families in the last 7 years we have seen the destructive powers of life controlling habits in marriage and relationship breakdowns, mental health and suicidal thoughts brought about by addictions such as, smoking, alcohol, drugs, gambling, internet addiction, retail seduction and others. 

We want to treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms and Fresh Start will help us achieve this.

The Project

Fresh Start will be providing service and support to a group of vulnerable people, often the marginalised in our community, who are under the influence of dependencies which are heightened as a result of isolation due to Covid 19. This is cross community and is available to all irrespective of colour, race, ethnicity or creed.

This is a new project for us and will be run by 2 professionally trained volunteer coaches and provide a safe, supportive and confidential community in which people can tackle their dependencies.

We have a rent free private space to house the project but we need to purchase items such as a laptop computer £650, projector £180, tea and coffee machine and toaster, £350 and other ancilliary items £50. The course itself costs us £60 per month which will be ongoing say £720 for 1 year. Total £1,950.

The Problem

The problem is that addictions and dependency issues can be hard to talk about, but the statistics reveal there is a huge problem that will affect people in churches, the community and neighbourhood. We believe Fresh Start is uniquely placed to bring true freedom, healing and wholeness to people controlled by dependencies. 

The Cure

The course itself is based around five core principles - Community - Course - Coaching - Confidential - Celebration. The groups teach people practical steps to tackle their dependency head on through sessions which have been inspired by the Twelve Steps (Alcoholics Annonymous) alongside individual coaching. 

The Team

Our team of volunteers to run Fresh Start include a former local community policeman, a street pastor and a lady who has worked with alcoholics for many years as well as a team of support volunteers in the background. With these people involved we have a way into this marginalised community which will ensure we get participants to attend. We are also acutely aware that after an 8 week course we cannot just drop these participants so we will be running this course into our other courses and encouraging them to attend Life Skills, Money Course and hopefully Job Club before the next Fresh Start course. The Course will create a sense of community for these participants which will be ongoing and we will also provide a drop in service for them every week during and after the course.

Ballymoney Community CAP employs 2 part time staff members but has a list of over 90 volunteers providing a range of support -financial, baking for fund raising events, befriending clients, offering prayer support, setting up venues for events etc. 

Fundraising events


Tickets for Ceilidh                        BBQ Royal Portrush Golf Club - The Open Championship


In addition to the debt counselling service which has serviced over 130 families (currently 25) we have supported 170/200 people through our educational courses:-

Job Club saw 3 of our first 7 participants gain employment.

Life Skills does what it says in the title. An 8 week course designed to help those on a low income live well. We have run the course several times helping participants learn practical money saving techniques, such as cooking on a budget, living healthily on less, making their money go further, hygiene, relationships etc.

Quote from a participant 

  • "The 8 week course on managing life on a low income was really useful for me. It gave me great inspiration to remain positive, to shop and to cook healthy meals at a time when I had very little money. Life Skills showed me how to take control of my money. Thank you for the support during that time of unemployment when I could see no way out. The course was such a haven for me!”

Money Course which is tailored for all age groups to help folk budget, save and spend well. This can involve one to one coaching with our trained coaches or groups. We have delivered to our local grammar school leavers class (108 pupils) before moving on to the next stage of their lives be it in further education or employment. We have also delivered a modified version to a local primary school and after restrictions imposed due to Covid19 we will be continuing to deliver to further schools and college in the area.

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