Alternative Angles Christmas Festival Concert

Tuesday 3rd December 2013 will be a day never forgotten by all who attended the Cross Partnership “Christmas Festival” concert in Ballymena North Centre.  The event brought Trainees from all 5 Alternative Angles and tenants from several supported living projects together with members of Harryville Community Partnership and North Belfast Senior Citizen Forum to perform a prepared programme of music and fun with the Ulster Orchestra. After a busy morning of final set up and rehearsals, participants were joined by guests for lunch including members of JTI, Triangle board and SMT, NHSCT colleagues, Ballymena’s Mayor and of course several parents and carers. Following lunch the audience of nearly 300 were treated to a musical extravaganza performed by our Trainees and friends from Belfast and Harryville, including an alternative version of the 12 days of Christmas, a solo Tin Whistle performance by Kate Laverty (Left) and many more audience participative Christmas tunes, all accompanied by the excellent musicians from the Ulster Orchestra, ably led by Ricky Matson from the Orchestra.

It is hoped that there will be a similar event next year which promises to be even larger now that the relationship with Alternative Angles and the Ulster Orchestra has been developed, this will be in addition to “Triangle’s Got Talent” which is to be held in March 2014.

The event was a spectacular success and would not have been possible without the generous financial support from JTI. Extra Special thanks goes to all Alternative Angles Social Enterprise Workers, Trust Partner Staff and our own supported living staff for their hard work in organising not only this event but the several workshops that led up to the very successful day. At the busiest time of the year, Staff pulled out all of the stops and made it a very memorable occasion for all who were able to attend. On behalf of Chris Alexander (CEO) I would like to thank you all, Well Done and Happy Christmas.

By Kevin Duffy, Progression to Employment Coordinator

Northern Ireland Cross Partnership Details

Starting in October 2013, there is to be a Northern Ireland Cross Partnership Project between Alternative Angles and the Ulster Orchestra, funded by local a local Ballymena based business through their Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and local charitable giving committee. The partnership project will take the form of a series of interactive workshops and performances with members of the Ulster Orchestra visiting each Alternative Angles location culminating in a visit to the orchestras’ home in the Ulster Hall and a final rehearsal and performance in Ballymena North in December. In addition to alternative angles trainees, and in the spirit of inclusion service users and staff from supported living will join the workshops which promise to be an exciting and enjoyable series of events. Dates and locations for the series of workshops and performances can be found below:

10th October:

AA Cookstown – Greenvale Hotel – 1030-1200

AA Coleraine – The Vineyard – 1330-1500

14th October:

AA Newtownabbey – 1030-1200

AA Ballymena – 1330-1500

28th October:

Ulster Hall – 1030-1500

3rd December:

Ballymena North – 1030-1430

The event in Ballymena on 3rd December will be the culmination of the series of workshops with a finale performance of the orchestra and trainees at 1pm that day which will be  open to parents and carers of all involved. If anyone wishes to come along to support our trainees and service users at this event they should contact Kevin Duffy or Leanne McCafferty for details.

Alternative Angles Social

2013 has been a very exciting year for Alternative Angles, in March a social function was held for all Alternative Angles trainees in the Leighinmohr Hotel, Ballymena.  This is the first such event held since 2008 when a similar event was held in the Ross Park hotel. The event this year was the very first time trainees from all 4 Alternative Angles sites were able to meet socially and share stories in a relaxed social environment. Back in 2008 there were only 3 Alternative Angles locations with around 50 trainees, whereas 2013 there were 4 locations with around 100 trainees. As the pictures show from 2008 and 2013 the numbers have grown so significantly we are unable to fit everybody into one photograph.

The event this year would not have been possible were it not for the generous donation and sponsorship of this event by a local private company through their Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. The event is now to be an annual event in the Alternative Angles calendar and trainees are already looking forward to planning for 2014. At the event trainees enjoyed a scrumptious meal and were entertained not only by a disco/Kareoke but also by several Trainees playing instruments like the Mouth Organ and Penny Whistle. Next years’ event promises to be an even larger affair with the addition of a 5th Alternative Angles location in Antrim later this year. Next year’s event promises to be a very special event with early ideas of the “A Factor” similar to the X factor being talked about in trainees’ team meetings, all we can say is watch this space.

Matthew McConaghie progressing into Supported Employment

Matthew McConaghie successfully progressed onto Supported Employment from Alternative Angles in October 2011.  Matthew has taken on the role of domestic assistant replacing Marcus Gregg at Triangle’s Woodside Offices. Matthew is responsible for the up keep and cleanliness of the kitchen, toilets and office facilities.   Matthew has settled in well to his new role and has become a very important part of the team.  Matthew carries out his tasks to a high standard and is very much valued for the work he does.

Matthew attends his work placement 2 days a week, were he job shares his role with Catherine Richmond.

Before Matthew progressed onto Supported Employment, he attended Alternative Angles for a period of time which has helped him to enhance his skills and confidence before commencing his new role as a Domestic assistant.

Marcus Gregg’s progression into Supported Employment

Marcus joined Alternative Angles in November 2006 after nearly 30 in the George Sloane Centre in Ballymena. Whilst in AA Marcus learned and developed a lot of new skills which led to a deserved recommendation through to supported employment in 2010. Since October 2010 he has been employed in a voluntary capacity as a domestic assistant in both our Woodside offices and now Tower House. He has proved to be an invaluable member of the Tower House Team and has increased his work days from 2 to 5 days per week. Marcus has experienced both aspects of the Progression to employment service and is one of over 60 trainees to have graduated from Alternative Angles into Supported Employment.

Marcus says he likes his new “Job” and that the staff are very kind to him, he especially enjoys joining them for lunch everyday which makes him really feel a part of the staff team.

Disability No Bar to Employment!

Alternative Angles receiving the prestigious NHSCT “Sharing Excellence Leading Quality Award” for best resource/product on the 6th May 2009.

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NYSCT Chairman Mr Jim Stewart presented Kevin Duffy, Alternative Angles/Progression to Employment Coordinator with the prestigious award. The award was received with Jacinta Melaugh Director of Human Resources NHSCT and Wilma McIllroy Head of Organisation and Workforce Development NHSCT.

The award recognises the outstanding achievement in the area of partnership working, resource and production development.


18 Months of Success

Alternative Angles, a social enterprise partnership between Triangle Housing Association and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, is celebrating just over 18 months of success. At an event on Friday 27th June in Ballymena North Business and Recreation Centre, staff from both organisations gathered with business partners to mark the remarkable rise of the scheme.

The partnership between the Northern Trust and Triangle has grown significantly since November 2006 when, with European funding through the Ballymena Local Strategy Partnership, Alternative Angles was established in the town. The partnership now has Alternative Angles projects established in Cookstown, Coleraine and Newtownabbey. The various schemes have enabled adults with a learning disability to undertake work preparation programmes. These help build confidence and skills, improving employment opportunities for many people whose prospects may otherwise have been limited.

Norma Evans, Chief Executive of the Northern Trust attended the event. She said, “It is wonderful to come together with our partners as well as the various staff and trainees to mark this great achievement here in Ballymena where Alternative Angles first began. The partnership has created opportunities where there were virtually none. It has empowered a group of people in a real and meaningful way whose contribution has in the past all too often been overlooked.”

Chris Alexander, Chief Executive of Triangle Housing Association said the growth of the scheme had been amazing in such a short period of time and added, “We believe the real work experiences will contribute significantly to the progression to full employment of many individuals with disability. The self fulfilment found in the creativity of work and it’s contribution to the wider community is a belief at the heart of Triangle’s and our Health Trust partner’s ethos. This ethos is reflected in the activities of Alternative Angles.”