Training opportunities for local members of the security forces and their families

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The NI Phoenix Project, which provides support and advocacy for former members of the security forces – primarily police, prison service and army – who served during the Troubles, and their families, is to run a series of three courses in East Antrim during February and March.

The courses, funded by the EU PEACE III programme and the Community Relations Council, will be held in Larne and are free.

The courses on offer are Leading Through Understanding (February 4) and Conflict Resolution (February 10). Both are one-day courses and run from 10am to 7pm with lunch and dinner provided. Participants can partake in one or both of the courses, which are accredited.

The third is a four-day Befriending - Reaching Out course on February 18 and 25 and March 3 and 10. The duration of this course is 10am to 4pm and includes lunch. This course is also a recognised accredited course.

All courses are in the context of Service families and how they coped during the Troubles how they are coping now and support available.

Leading Through Understanding is a comprehensive and accredited training programme for people involved in community groups. The programme provides individuals with the practical skills and knowledge needed to be effective leaders that create an impetus for change in their local communities.

The Conflict Resolution course may be completed on its own and is an expansion of the topics covered in the Leading Through Understanding course with extra topics added such as good relations.

Reaching Out is a comprehensive and accredited training programme for volunteer befrienders. A befriender is a trained volunteer who offers their friendship – within agreed limits and boundaries – to someone who is isolated, lonely, or vulnerable.

The aim of the course is to train befrienders in the East Antrim area in order to take up the role within the Phoenix Group membership and those who served during the Troubles and their families giving you the opportunity to end the isolation of this community.

All courses are by registration and numbers are restricted. To register, call 028 9181 5827 or email newtownards.office@phoenixni.org.uk – by January 31. Also visit http://www.phoenixni.org.uk click ‘Groups’ and then ‘Ards & North Down Group’