Bid to set up new local Phoenix support group

EFFORTS are being made to set up an east Antrim group of the Northern Ireland Phoenix Project to address the needs of former security force members and their families who have been affected by the Troubles.

A taster evening is to be held in Larne on Friday, November 4 to give an insight into the work of the project, funded by the Euorpean Union’s PEACE III programme.

The evening starts at 7pm with a presentation on the project and is followed by a short workshop on the sort of work it does before concluding at 9pm with a meal. The event is by invitation only which can be secured by phoning the Development Officer, Mitch Bresland on 9181 5827 by Monday, October 31.

The newly-formed Northern Ireland Phoenix Project has established offices in Armagh, Enniskillen, Limavady, Moygashel, Newtownards and Omagh. These offices, in conjunction with the local Phoenix groups, will provide a wide range of services including counselling, complimentary therapies, sign-posting, welfare advice, befriending and an open door policy based on inclusion and mutual respect for others.

Whilst there is no group in east Antrim at present individuals from Larne have joined the Newtownards group and have attended many events and courses over the past year.

The Phoenix groups are wholly voluntary organisations comprised mainly of ex=members of the police (Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland); HM Forces (including Ulster Defence Regiment and R Irish Home Service); the Prison Service and their respective families.

The groups operate a policy of inclusion and many other groupings are associated with the regional Phoenix groups such as the retired Gardaí Association and the Messines Society.

The project will also deliver a range of seminars, conferences and workshops addressing the subjects of conflict resolution, peace-building and reconciliation over the coming year with proposed cross border input from former members of the Irish Defence Force and the Garda Síochána.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the project can check out the website or on Facebook. All other enquiries are welcome at 028 9181 5827 or via email to