Please note: Our reception at The Braid will be closed on Friday 24 May 2024.

A Safe, Warm, Well-come

Directory of Resources and Assistance in MEA

There is a cost-of-living crisis across the UK resulting in unprecedented pressures on people already in poverty.

This page is also available as a downloadable PDF document.

Debt Advice / Management services     Electricity & Gas Suppliers / Switching Suppliers     Critical Care Registers

Saving for Home Heating Oil     Energy grants / Heater lending scheme     Energy Efficiency advice

Food Budgeting     Assistance with Food     Assistance for Families

Looking after Carers     Relationship Support / Mental Health    Loneliness / Social Isolation

Age Friendly     Council Parks, Leisure, Exercise & Activities     Support for Employment

Emergency Helplines


Despite some support by Government, many people in Mid and East Antrim will have to make tough decisions about when they can afford to heat their home or make nutritious food.

Within our Borough, we have strong and proud communities, with a tradition of helping each other as well as supporting themselves.

Mid and East Antrim has a range of voluntary organisations offering practical support, and signposting regarding issues such as financial difficulty, isolation, mental health.

Many of these organisations included in this booklet focus on providing support to the most vulnerable individuals and families.

Debt Advice/Management Services within Mid and East Antrim

Individuals may fall into financial difficulties for a variety of reasons.

Below are some contacts and links that will help provide advice for anyone who may be struggling to pay bills or manage debt.

Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Services (MEACAS)

One stop shop in helping to meet the needs of the community by providing free, independent and quality advice to local people.

T: 028 9600 1333
E: advice@meacas.com (please include name and contact number in email)

Head Office
4 Wellington Court
Ballymena
BT43 6EQ
Monday – Friday 10am - 4pm

11 Antrim Street
Carrickfergus
BT38 7DG
Monday – Thursday 10am – 4pm

2 Station Road
The Market Yard
Larne
BT40 3AA
Monday – Friday 10am - 4pm

Helplines NI
Membership–led organisation consisting of over 30 different helplines and support services operating across Northern Ireland.

For more information visit the Helplines NI website

Consumer Council
Provides information on topics such as Energy, Food, Transport and Personal Finance. 

Excellent for price comparison prices in relation to energy prices.

Freephone: 0800 1216 022

Email: contact@consumercouncil.org.uk

Visit: The Consumer Council's Cost of Living section.

Illegal Money Lending Campaign

Campaign highlighting the dangers of illegal money lending and how lenders prey on the most vulnerable in our society.

For information/advice visit the Ending the harm website.

Turn 2 Us  

A national charity providing practical help to people who are struggling financially. 

For information/advice visit the Turn2Us website.

NI Direct – Help with Health Costs

Most Health Service treatment is free, although there can be charges for some things.

Depending on your circumstances, you might get help with the cost of some treatment, services and items.

If you're on a low income, you may be able to get help with health service and travel costs. 

For information/advice visit - the NIDirect website's Help Health Costs page.

Make the Call

Aims to ensure individuals and households across NI are receiving all the benefits, support & services to which they and their families are entitled.

For a free Needs Assessment or help to complete an application form, please contact Make the Call on:

Telephone: 0800 232 1271 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Text ADVICE to:  07984 405 248

Visit the NIDirect website's Make The Call page.

Email: makethecall@dfcni.gov.uk

MoneyHelper

Free, impartial help that’s quick to find, easy to use and backed by government.

Online, over the phone or face-to-face, they can give you clear money and pensions guidance and point you to trusted services, if you need more support. 

Open to everyone, MoneyHelper can help people clear their debts, reduce spending and make the most of their income.

For further information visit - the MoneyHelper website or Telephone: 0800 0113 797

Useful links

Christians Against Poverty website

Phone – 0800 3280 006

Money Saving Expert website

NIDirect Benefit Advance pages

If you have made a new claim for benefit and are in financial hardship while you wait for your first payment, you may be able to get an advance to afford things like rent or food.

NIDirect Discretionary Support pages

You may be able to get help towards short-term living expenses, buying/repairing/replacing basic household items, travel expenses and rent.

NIDirect Benefits and Financial Support pages

Electricity and Gas Suppliers/Switching Suppliers

As energy costs rise so too will household bills in relation to electricity/gas/oil. 

To help ensure you are on the best supplier/tariff please see company details below, along with advice on switching suppliers.

Electricity: Current electricity providers in Northern Ireland:

Electricity Providers in NI

Website

Customer Service number

Contact Email

Power NI

www.powerni.co.uk

03457 455 455

home@powerni.co.uk

Click Energy

www.clickenergyni.com

0800 1070 732

chat@clickenergyni.com

Budget Energy

www.budgetenergy.co.uk

0800 0121 177

TalkToUs@budgetenergy.co.uk

Electric Ireland

www.electricireland.com

03456 005 335

0800 3134 926

customerservice@electricireland.com

SSE Airtricity

www.sseairtricity.com

03456 019 093

0800 0288 972

customerservice@sseairtricity.com

Struggling to pay your bill with Power NI – contact Payment & Accounts Resolution Team – 028 9068 5853 / Email: dpar@powerni.co.uk

Gas: Gas providers in Northern Ireland:

Gas Providers in NI

Website

Customer Service number

Contact Email

Firmus Energy

www.firmusenergy.co.uk

03300 249 000

furtherinfo@firmusenergy.co.uk

SSE Airtricity

www.airtricitygasni.com

03459 005 253

info@airtricitygasni.com

Struggling to pay your Firmus Energy bill – Email: creditcontrol@firmusenergy.co.uk

Consumer Council Price Comparison webpage – useful for comparing electricity and gas prices.

Power to Switch website – provides tools for comparing energy prices and if considering switching from oil to gas.

Switching suppliers

There are a number of things to consider when changing suppliers:

  • Loyalty isn’t always rewarded. 
    You may get cheaper options by changing supplier.
  • If you want to stay with your current supplier, ask if there is a better deal
  • You can switch if you are a homeowner or tenant, as long as you pay the bill.
  • You may get a better service as competition encourages suppliers to offer a better service such as access discounts as a new customer.
  • During switching there will be no interruption to your supply of energy.
  • Hassle free – your new supplier takes care of any paperwork.
  • You can switch as often as you like (possible fee for fixed term contract).
  • You don’t always have to switch supplier – even switching payment method from the same provider can save money.

Critical Care Registers

If someone is dependent on a water supply or electrical equipment for daily care then they can sign up to a Care Register. 

The facility is offered by both Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) and Northern Ireland Water (NI Water)

If there is a cut in supply, being on the register means that contact details are prioritised by the relevant service supplier. 

They will also contact the person ahead of any planned outages advising of the planned length of time that they may be affected in supply in order to allow enough time to make alternative arrangements.

This service is of particular benefit for individuals who rely on medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, home dialysis machines and vital signs monitoring equipment.

For further information on how to register, and details of which services are offered by which company, contact the service provider directly or through the NI Direct Care Registers page.

Saving for home heating oil

Stay Warm Oil Stamp Scheme

The ‘Stay Warm Saving Scheme’, operated by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and supported by Council allows you to spread the cost of your home heating oil by buying oil stamps at local retailers.

For more information visit our Keeping Warm Keeping Well page.

Community Bulk Buying Oil Clubs

A number of local community groups operate community oil buying clubs. 

By co-ordinating orders for domestic heating oil in an area, the clubs are able to negotiate discounts with the oil suppliers by buying in bulk. 

The clubs are a great way of helping communities make home heating oil more affordable.

The following clubs operate within MEA:

Braid Oil Club thebraidoilclub@gmail.com T: 07824 860 083

Glenravel Oil Club T: 07856 335 221

Larne Oil Club info@larneoilclub.co.uk or visit the Larne Oil Club website

NIHE NI Oil Buying Clubs

The NI Oil Buying Network negotiates on behalf of behalf of clubs with savings made passed on to all members.

Within MEA the following club operates:

Bannvale (Ahoghill, Bellaghy, Lavy, Portglenone Co Antrim / Co Derry)

For more information visit the NIHE website's Oil Buying Clubs page.

Oil Price Comparison websites

Consumer Council – use their NI Home Heating Oil Price Checker web tool

Visit the Boiler Juice website

Visit the Cheapest Oil website's NI section

Paypoint

The Northern Ireland Oil Federation has also partnered with PayPoint to introduce a pre-payment scheme for home heating oil.

The scheme allows customers to make regular payments throughout the year rather than pay a lump sum at time of delivery.

Those participating in the scheme will receive a swipe card which can be used to make payments towards home heating oil at participating shops.

Energy Efficiency Grants

Several grants are available to improve the energy efficiency of the home:

Affordable Warmth Scheme

The Affordable Warmth Scheme is one of the Department for Communities tools in tackling fuel poverty. 

The scheme is delivered in partnership with local councils and Northern Ireland Housing Executive to specifically target areas of severe and extreme fuel poverty.

Councils have been provided a list of properties to target and to be eligible for the scheme an occupier must be an owner occupier or privately renting and have a gross annual household income less than £23,000 (which includes most benefits).

You may be eligible for a number of energy efficiency measures such as insulation and heating measures through this scheme.

For further information contact Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing Team on T: 028 2563 3394.

Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme

These grants are provided by private companies and can help with the cost of:

  • Insulation
  • new heating boilers and controls
  • energy efficient lighting

Each grant has its own eligibility criteria and you need to be on a low income to qualify for many of them.  

To apply visit their website where the grants open in April/May each year.

Boiler Replacement Scheme

The scheme, provided by funding from the Northern Ireland Executive, offers owner occupiers a grant of up to £1,000 to:

  • Replace inefficient boilers with energy-efficient condensing oil or gas boilers
  • Switch from oil to gas
  • Switch to a wood pellet boiler

It is available to those who earn less than £40,000 a year with an inefficient boiler of at least 15 years and is dependent on total gross income.

The scheme, administered by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), is targeted at householders who do not qualify for other Government energy-efficient improvement schemes, making them vulnerable to fuel poverty.

If you think you may be eligible, call T: 0300 200 7874 or register by E: boiler-replacement@nihe.gov.uk

Visit NI Direct to find additional information.

Heater Lending Scheme

This scheme, operated by Council, provides a temporary heating solution for households in need of boiler replacement or without a working heating system.

For more information on this scheme contact Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing Team on T: 02825 633394.

Winter Fuel Payment

If you are aged 60 or over you may get a Winter Fuel Payment to help pay for keeping warm in winter.

This can be between £100 and £300 depending on your situation.

Find out if you are eligible for this payment and how to apply

Energy Efficiency Advice

Heat the person, not the home

Many households struggling to afford their energy bills may have no choice but to reduce the amount of energy they use by cutting back on heating their home.

Whilst this has its own issues, the following information provides advice on keeping warm if you’re at the point of having to cut back on your heating.

Before cutting back on your heating please consider:

Not heating your home properly can contribute to damp issues and frozen pipes if the weather is cold, which can result in hundreds of pounds of damage.

The Energy Saving Trust recommends ventilating rooms and having the heating on to some degree during winter.

It has full help on fixing damp and condensation, as well as other ways to save on energy at home.

It may be dangerous for older people, or those with asthma and other health conditions.

If in doubt, consult your GP and follow their advice.

Rent your home?

Check what your tenancy agreement says about heating.

Some landlords stipulate you must turn the heating on regularly, or keep the home at a minimum temperature.

Devices to help you warm up

There are lots of devices available which are low cost to use such as heated gloves, electric over blankets, heated slippers.

These are generally charged by USB.

Layer up your clothes

Wearing the right clothes can make a huge difference when living in a cooler house. Layering up keeps you warmer than 1 heavier layer –

The baselayer sits directly against your skin and should be close-fitting to lock in heat and take away sweat from your skin.

Avoid cotton if possible, as it traps moisture and will cool you down over time.

The cheaper alternative options tend to be synthetic fabrics, such as polyester or nylon.

The midlayer - Wearing a second layer will help trap warmth your baselayer hasn't managed to keep in.

A lightweight fleece can be a good option.

Alternatively, you could opt for a second T-shirt, and wear a fleece or jumper as your third layer.

The outerlayer - For those doing outdoor activities, this is usually a waterproof layer to protect against the elements.

You won't need a waterproof indoors (hopefully), but if you're not warm enough in your base and midlayer, you could add an extra jumper or jacket over the top.

For extra warmth, a padded/insulated jacket could be a good option.

Eat regularly and have at least one hot meal a day

The NHS says eating regularly will help keep you warm, and you should have one hot meal a day.

It also recommends drinking hot drinks regularly.

To cut down on electricity when using your kettle only boil enough water for the amount of liquid you need (ensuring the element is covered) or boil a full kettle and fill a flask to keep the hot warm for a number of hours.

Keep your feet warm

It's said that if your feet are cold, the rest of you will feel cold too.

Wearing slippers can be essential to staying warm inside, particularly if you have hard floors.

Slippers that enclose your feet will keep warmth in better and are safer to wear.

The Energy Saving Trust also recommends putting down rugs or carpets to help your feet stay warm.

The key is to place them where you stand often, such as next to the bed. A bathmat can also be handy, to avoid bare feet on a cold bathroom floor.

Make sure any new rugs aren't a trip hazard – you can buy separate 'anti-slip' mats or underlay to go underneath and prevent accidents.

Choose the right socks, and consider changing them during the day.

If your feet start to feel cold later in the day it could be because your socks have been absorbing sweat.

Swap them for a fresh, dry pair, and your feet should start warming up again.

Put your feet up when you’re sitting down - the floor is usually the coldest part of the house.

Warm up by moving around

Gentle exercise can help you stay warm, so try and move around once an hour.

Be aware that more strenuous exercise will make your body sweat to try and cool you down, so it's not an ideal solution if you just want to warm up.

The A – Z of Energy Efficiency Advice

Ask for advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of your home

Budget for your fuel bills by using the Oil Stamps Saving Scheme

Close the curtains after dark to keep the heat in

Draught proofing your home will reduce heat loss by ~15%

Energy efficient lightbulbs could save you up to £55 per year and switch off any lights that aren’t needed

Fix dripping taps – a dripping tap could fill half a bath in a week

Gadgets and appliances left on standby account for approx 6% of household energy bills

Have a shower instead of a bath and try to restrict your shower to 5 minutes

Insulating cavity walls and loft will greatly reduce heat loss from your home

Just boil enough water for a cup of tea or coffee – there’s no need to fill the kettle each time. (Make sure the element is covered.)

Keep the hot water cylinder no hotter than 60°C – that’s hot enough for any household use

Laptop computers use approx 15% of the power of a desktop and monitor

Make sure that food is cooled to room temperature before putting it into the fridge or freezer

Never leave the fridge door open longer than necessary and keep the freezer well filled

On colder days, instead of turning up the thermostat, set the heating to come on a little earlier and stay on longer when needed

Powering the clock on a microwave can use more power than heating your food – turn it off when not in use

Quick tip: boil water in the kettle and pour it into a saucepan to use for cooking pasta or vegetables – saves time and energy

Radiators should not be covered by curtains, blocked by furniture or used to dry clothes

Service your boiler regularly to ensure its working efficiently

Turning your thermostat down by 1°C can cut your heating bills by 10%

Use the half-load or economy programme if not filling the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher

When buying new appliances, choose ones with the best energy rating

Vulnerable people, including older people and those with chronic disabling conditions, should keep their living room at 21° C

Xtra help is available – ask your local Council for details of current grants and schemes

Young children and babies are particularly vulnerable to the cold

Zzzzzz comfortably in a ventilated bedroom heated to 18° C /64°F-

Food Budgeting/Shopping

Tips for spending less at the supermarket

  1. Plan ahead and write a shopping list - plan your menu around foods you already have and write a shopping list of what foods you need.
    By writing a shopping list you reduce the chance of making impulse purchases - those little items you don’t need but which often find their way into your trolley.
    You also are less likely to waste food.
  2. Look out for offers and deals -  there are always offers available in supermarkets but when is an offer a bargain?
    Will you use it?
    It’s only a bargain if you will use it.
    Most supermarkets provide unit pricings on shelf labels so look at the price per 100g or 100 mls to help you work out what’s best value.
    Bigger isn’t always better nor are multibuys.
  3. Watch out for marketing traps - shops employ subtle marketing practices that try to steer you towards certain products or parts of the store.
    Colourful flowers, fruit and vegetables as you enter make you feel happier and more relaxed which may make you slow down and spend more time in store.
    The smell of food cooking can make you feel hungry and encourage you to buy more.
    Bread and milk are often at the back of the store so you have to walk past everything else to get to the essentials.
    Offers at the end of aisles tend to be ones which have a good profit margin and may not be as good a bargain as they seem - shop down the aisles, where you can see all the available options and make an informed choice.
    Products with higher profit margins are placed ay shopper eye level – look up and down for better bargains.
    Colourful price tickets draw the eye towards ‘offers’.
    Impulse buys tend to be placed near checkouts.
  4. Join loyalty schemes - loyalty card schemes can save you money – some allow you to build up points which can be exchanged for vouchers or money off at the tills.
    Some allow you to trade your points for better rewards.
    Bring your loyalty cards with you each time you shop – it may not seem like you’re saving much but it all adds up.
  5. Shop and eat seasonally - know which fruit and vegetables are in season.
    Retailers tend to discount UK fresh produce when it’s in season as there is more availability.
    Food not in season has to travel further so will cost more.
  6. Get fruit and veg from the frozen aisle - the frozen aisle tends to be an overlooked part of the supermarket.
    As well as tending to be cheaper, frozen fruit and veg is just as healthy as fresh.
  7. Try the world food aisle - another overlooked aisle is the world food aisle.
    Here you can find common food items in unfamiliar packaging that are often cheaper – soy sauce, rice, lentils, etc.
  8. Buy ‘own brand’ - supermarket own brands are normally less expensive and better value than branded version.
    Check the top and bottom shelves for cheaper options.
  9. Time your supermarket shop - don’t go shopping when you’re hungry – you’re more likely to spend more.
    Shopping in the evening could save you cash - as closing time approaches, supermarkets tend to discount fresh items.

Remember it is important to eat well in order to keep healthy.

Some tips that you could follow are –

  1. Eating regular meals will help keep your energy levels up during winter.
  2. Hot meals and drinks help keep you warm.
  3. Plan your meals and keep your diet as varied as possible.
  4. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to boost your immune system.
  5. Stock up on tinned and frozen foods, so that you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
  6. Drink more milk and eat more dairy products. 
    These boost your immune system and help prevent colds.

For more tips and advice on food budgeting and food wastage, visit the Consumer Council's Cost of Living - Food section.

Useful Links

BBC Good Food website on How to Reduce Food Waste

Love Food Hate Waste website

Iceland - 10% discount for over 60s every Tuesday

To redeem the discount, senior shoppers will need to show one of the following –

  • Senior Bus or Rail card
  • Driver’s License

Local Charity Shops

You can also reduce how much waste you produce by shopping in charity shops.

There are a range of charity shops across Mid and East Antrim offering a wide variety of great quality second hand pieces, from winter coats to help you stay warm to toys for children.

Assistance with Food

Food Banks

There are a number of Food Banks throughout Mid & East Antrim area.

If you need help, there is a referral system to get your Foodbank Voucher. 

Foodbanks work with local referral agencies to provide you with the most appropriate help. 

Referral agencies for your local Foodbank and information about their opening times can be found by using the contact details and website links for the foodbanks listed below.

Ballymena Foodbanks:

Green Pastures Church, 1 Faith Avenue, The Gateway, BT42 3FF

The Peoples Church, Fenaghy Road, Galgorm, Ballymena, BT42 1AQ

Ballymena North: Ballyloughan Church, Doury Road, Ballymena, BT43 6JE

T: 028 2542 2543

Visit the Ballymena Foodbank website

Email : info@ballymena.foodbank.org.uk  

High Kirk Presbyterian Church Foodbank

65-71 Thomas Street, Ballymena, BT43 6AZ

T: 028 25644 834

E: office@highkirk.org.uk

Larne Foodbanks:

Craigy Hill Methodist Church, Brustin Brae Road, Larne, BT40 2HS

First Larne Presbyterian Church, Inver Road, Larne, BT40 3BW

T: 028 2827 7530

Visit the Larne Foodbank website

Email : info@larne.foodbank.org.uk

Carrickfergus Foodbanks:

75 Woodburn Road, Carrickfergus, BT38 8PS

T: 07515 559 409

Visit the Carrickfergus Foodbank website

Email: info@carrickfergus.foodbank.org.uk 

Storehouse Carrick Elim Pentecostal Church

1 Northlands Carrickfergus

T: 028 9336 3150

E: info@carrickelimchurch.co.uk

Whitehead Storehouse

Balmoral Ave Whitehead Carrickfergus BT38 9QD

T: 07596 213 763

E: Whiteheadstorehouse@gmail.com

MEA Community Hub

Incorporating the Affordable Food Club and Affordable Café available from 1 December 2022.

For membership information, in the first instance, please contact MEACAS on T: 028 96 001 333.

Community Fridges

Community Fridges are a platform for sharing surplus food, they are not means tested and are open to all.

Community fridges have flexible opening hours as they are subject to surplus food availability while stocks last.

Locations in the Mid and East Antrim area -

Larne – The Promenade (behind Larne Leisure Centre)

E: info@larne-area-community-support.co.uk

Carrickfergus – Eden Allotment Gardens, 42 Beltoy Road

E: Communityfridge@hotmail.com

Islandmagee – Islandmagee Community Garden, Ballystrudder Road

E: Gerbdog@gmail.com

Support for Families

Baby Banks

Baby Banks help to encourage and support those struggling with practical issues of having a new baby/toddler in the form of nappies, wipes, clothes etc. 

These aim to help relieve poverty, redistribute quality resources so reducing parental stress and improving the lives of children.   

Baby Banks in the Mid and East Antrim area include -

Carrickfergus Baby Bank:

Open Door Center, 32 Bridewell Drive, Carrickfergus, BT38 8JW

T: 028 9335 5527

E: info@carrickcommunitychurch.org

Children

The increased cost of living has a huge effect on families, particularly children. 

Increased costs can prevent some children from having the same opportunities as others which can have a physical and mental impact on children.

Below are some services which can help address these issues:  

Financial help

Tax Free Child Care (NI Direct) – if you work and your children are under 12, you might be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare. 

This can help pay for approved childcare.  

For information or advice visit the NIDirect website.

Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership

This website has a range of useful information and organisations who can help. 

The Cost of Living Resource provides details of targeted resources & support for families & children struggling with the current cost of living crisis. 

This document is live and will be updated regularly.

Local Support

Action for Children Larne

75 Main Street, Larne BT40 1HH

43 Fairway, Larne BT40 2BG

T: 028 2827 6044

Visit the Action For Children website.

Sure Start Ballymena

Ballykeel Business Centre, 18 Crebilly Road, Ballymena BT42 4DN

T: 028 2564 3555

Sure Start Carrickfergus

Horizon Sure Start, c/o Sunnylands Primary School, Sandes Court Entrance, Carrickfergus, BT38 8JJ

T: 028 9335 9734

Uniform Exchange Scheme

Mid & East Antrim Community Advice Services can assist with providing most primary and secondary school uniforms, these uniforms are new or pre-loved in various sizes.

Contact Mid & East Antrim Community Advice Services (MEACAS)

T: 028 9600 1333

Education Authority - Free School Meals and Uniform Grants

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) can apply if your son or daughter is in full-time education and if you are in receipt of one of the following benefits -   

  • Income Support    
  • Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit with an annual taxable income of £16,190 or less
  • Universal credit and have net household earnings not exceeding £14,000 per year

Applications can be made online by visiting the Free School Meals and Uniforms section on the Education Authority website

For further information, parents can contact the Meals and Uniform Service

T: 028 9041 8044

Visit the Education Authority website.

E: mealsanduniform@eani.org.uk

Monday - Friday 9am – 4.30pm

Useful Links

The Education Authority website's Financial Help section.

Support Funds for Students - Hardship funds provide financial help on a discretionary basis to students facing financial difficulties.  

You can apply if you’re a registered full-time or part-time higher education student, or if you’re doing a postgraduate course at a Northern Ireland higher education institution. 

Looking after Carers

Having caring responsibilities can lead to increased costs for an individual.  

Carers Northern Ireland

Provide an advice and information service for carers and professionals, dealing with a range of issues such as carers benefits, community care and services for carers.

58 Howard Street, Belfast, BT1 6PJ

T: 028 9043 9843

E: info@carersni.org

Carers Co-Ordinator – Northern Health & Social Care Trust

Helps carers by providing information, advice and resources for carers. 

They provide information and support to carers in the Northern Trust area, promote training to empower and support carers, as well as gathering information about the needs of carers.

Route Complex, 8E Coleraine Road, Ballymoney, BT53 6BP

T: 028 2766 1210

E: Carers.coordinator@northerntrust.hscni.net

Crossroads Care NI

Not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting, serving and strengthening carers and those with care needs.

432 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3GY

T: 028 9181 4455

E: info@crossroadscare.co.uk

Relationship Support/Mental Health

The increased cost of living may put a strain on people’s relationships and mental health. 

Lifeline

T: 0808 808 8000

Visit the Lifeline Helpline website for details

Relate NI

3rd/4th Floor 3 Glengall Street, Belfast, BT12 5AB

T: 028 9032 3454

E: office@relateni.org

Women’s Aid (ABCLN)

Naomi Centre, 2 Cullybackey Road, Ballymena, BT43 5DF

T: 028 2563 2136

E: admin@womensaidabcln.org

Womans Aid Larne

75 Main St, Larne BT40 1JE

T: 028 2563 2136

Cithrah Foundation

Unit 6, Lancasterian Street, Carrickfergus, BT38 7PR

T: 028 9335 1199

Visit the Cithrah Foundation's website

Parenting NI

Unit 3 Hawthorn Office Park, 39a Stockman’s Way, Belfast, BT9 7ET

T: 028 9031 0891 or 0808 8010 722

info@parentingni.org

Men’s Advisory Project (MAP NI)

5th Floor Glendinning House, 6 Murray Street, Belfast, BT1 6DN

T: 028 9024 1929

E: info@mapni.co.uk

Samaritans

5 Wellesley Avenue, Belfast, BT9 6DG

T: 116 123 / 03300 945 717

Visit the Samaritans website

Here2Help App

Downloadable app for your phone – information on a range of organisations who can help.

Search Google Play store or Apple’s App store. 

Loneliness/Social Isolation

Financial hardship can increase levels of loneliness/social isolation. 

Loneliness Network

The Loneliness Network in Mid & East Antrim brings together Northern Health and Social Care Trust, and other statutory, voluntary and community groups to help combat loneliness by connecting people.

Information on all organisations throughout Mid and East Antrim which are involved in the loneliness network is available on our website at our Loneliness Network page.

Chatty Benches

In Mid & East Antrim the ‘Chatty Benches’ are brightly painted yellow and have a plaque with a unique QR code linking users to useful information on the Loneliness Network.

To date benches can be found in:

  • Shaftesbury park in Carrickfergus
  • Town park in Larne
  • Between Wellington street and Church Street in Ballymena
  • Peoples Park , Ballymena
  • Maine Riverside Walk, Cullybackey
  • Portglenone Marina
  • Whitehead Railway Garden – on corner of Edward Rd and Victoria Ave
  • Ballykeel, Ballymena
  • Larne Promenade
  • Ahoghill Park
  • Sentry Hill, Ballymena

Chatty Cafés: The idea of a Chatty Café is to encourage venues to designate a table and make it available as a ‘chatty table’ where customers can sit if they are happy to talk to other customers.

Our local Chatty Cafes are:

  • Blessings Coffee Shop, Cullybackey
  • The Salvation Army, Main Street, Larne
  • The Prom Café, Larne Leisure Centre
  • Barbara Anns Home Bakery, Larne
  • The Lunch Box, AEL, Larne
  • The Clocktower Café, Carrickfergus
  • Delaceys Bakery, Carrickfergus
  • Café Rima, De Courcey Centre, Carrickfergus
  • Ballykeel 1, Moving Forward Breakfast Club, Ballymena
  • Café Riva, Larne
  • The Oasis, Larne Elim Pentecostal Church

Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP)

Is a local inter-agency based partnership aimed at improving the lives of Older People aged 50 years and over, living in the Ballymena, Larne & Carrickfergus areas.

Contact them to find out more about the support available.

Broughshane House, 70 Main Street, Broughshane, Ballymena, BT42 4JW

T: 028 2565 8604

E: info@meaap.co.uk

Men's Shed -

Men's sheds are non-profit local organisations that provide a space for craftwork and social interaction.

Harryville Men's Shed

Unit 4, 20 Antrim Road, Ballymena, BT42 2BJ

Contact: Denver McMeekin, M: 07968 860 567

Portglenone Men's Shed

61 Main Street, Portglenone, BT44 8HP

Contact: Micheal McCarney, T: 028 2582 0150

Carrickfergus Men's Shed

Shaftesbury Cross, Carrickfergus BT38 8LL

Contact: Brian Sheilds, M: 07765 232 392

Inter Ethnic Forum

Aims to help ethnic minorities within Mid & East Antrim Borough Council area integrate, and to promote their cultures in the local community.

20 William Street, Ballymena, BT43 6AW

T: 028 2564 8822

E: Ivy.goddard@interethnicforum.org.uk / Natasha.taylor@interethnicforum.org.uk

Here2Help

Here2Help has been developed by a local initiative from people who want to make the range of services and support available to anyone in crisis.

The aim of the app is to provide quick to find helplines for users to get support instantly and also a wide range of links to reading materials that can help people in a time of need.

The Here2Help app is now available and FREE to download from Google Play Store and the Apple iTunes App Store for your smartphone or tablet device.

Libraries NI

Local libraries provide events, designed to encourage people of all age groups to interact and make connections through their common interests.

Some event examples are ‘Tea and Newspaper’ and ‘Knit and Natter’.

Find out more about the events offered at your local library offers using the contact details or links below.

Ballymena

5 Pats Brea, Ballymena, BT43 5AX

T: 028 2563 3950

E: ballymena.library@librariesni.org.uk

Visit the Ballymena Central Library website

Larne Library

26 Pound Street, Larne, BT40 1SQ

N: 028 2827 7047

E: larne.library@librariesni.org.uk

Visit the Larne Library website

Carrickfergus Library

2 Joymount, Carrickfergus, BT38 7DQ

T: 028 9336 2261

E: carrickfergus.library@librariesni.org.uk

Visit the Carrickfergus Library website

Age Friendly

Council has been awarded membership of the World Health Organisation Global Network for Age Friendly Cities and Communities, strengthening our public commitment to being an Age Friendly Borough.

Representatives from community, voluntary and statutory organisations, as well as interested individuals will work together to help ensure that our older people are active, respected and supported in their community.

If you are interested in getting involved with Age Friendly MEA please get in touch by contacting Helen McClean, Age Friendly Co-ordinator

T: 028 2826 2353

E: age.friendly@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

Council Leisure, Exercise & Activities

Being active can help to improve people’s physical and mental health.

There are a number of different options throughout the Mid and East Antrim that you can take advantage of –

Free Local Parks/Walks

  • Carnfunnock Country Park - 182A Coast Road, Larne, BT40 2QG
  • Carrickfergus Mill Ponds – Prince William Way, Carrickfergus, BT38 7HP
  • Diamond Jubilee Wood – Slaughterford Road, Whitehead, BT38 9JR
  • ECOS Centre Nature Park – Kernohans Lane, Broughshane Road, BT38 7QA
  • Oakfield Glen and Bashfordsland Wood – Red Fort Park, off Marshallstown Road, Carrickfergus, BT38 9TH
  • The Peoples Park - Doury Road, Ballymena, BT43 6JA

Local Playgrounds

To see a full list of playgrounds located throughout Mid & East Antrim visit out our Parks webpage.

There are loads of free options for a fun day out!

Leisure Centres

Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena
T: 028 2563 3382
E: STLC.Reception@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

Larne Leisure Centre
T: 028 2826 2497
E: LarneLC.Enquiries@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

Amphitheatre Wellness Centre, Carrickfergus
T: 028 9335 8342
E: amphitheatre@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

PARS (Physical Activity Referral Schemes)

Referral system onto the Scheme by a GP or Health Professional. 

A free 12-week fitness programme which offers a positive introduction to getting more active. 

It is designed to help participants develop the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to improve their health and wellbeing.

Support for Employment

Mid & East Antrim supports a wide variety of programmes to help people build skills and gain employment.

Find out more on our Employment and Skills Support section.

Emergency Helplines

While many people are spending more time at home, it is important to know what to do in an emergency situation. 

Keep the following numbers to hand in case you need them. 

Housing Executive - T: 03448 920 901

Northern Ireland Water Waterline - T: 03457 44 00 88

Flooding incident line - T: 0300 2000 100

Gas Smell/Emergency - T: 0800 002 001

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks - T: 03457 643 643 (Customer Hotline)

Dfi Roads (Including snow / ice): T: 0300 200 7899 (24 hours)

For more information on Travel and Transport or Roads, visit the NIDirect Government Services website.

Also, to report an obstruction on a road or street visit the NIDirect Government services website.