Larne Adult Centre has new community hub at Anchor House

Joel, Rhys and Colm, service users at Anchor House.
Joel, Rhys and Colm, service users at Anchor House.

Larne Adult Centre has a new community hub, Anchor House, which opened at Andrew Avenue, in the town, last August.

The facility, formerly Clogrennan and owned by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, caters for up to 20 service users.

Staff and service users at Anchor House.

Staff and service users at Anchor House.

The Trust operates a similar service in Ballyclare, The Hub, at Doagh Road.

Kellie Ritchie, senior day care worker, at Anchor House, said that the provision is aimed at promoting activities in the community, independence and inclusion in the local area.

In addition, the move has helped to create more space at Larne Adult Centre for those with “more profound difficulties and challenging behaviour”.

“Anchor House was created for the more able and independent to come here.

Taking part in the Anchor House 'TV show'.

Taking part in the Anchor House 'TV show'.

“Both community hubs have been created to promote independence in the hope that some may move on to other opportunities. Some may go to AEL, (Access Employment Limited) in Larne, some days in the week.

In addition, Anchor House works with NRC to provide college classes such as ICT and personal development.

There are also opportunities to learn multi-sports skills and football at Larne Leisure Centre.

Cookery is one of the independence skills being promoted in association with the Health Promotion Agency underlining the importance of healthy eating.

Having fun at Anchor House.

Having fun at Anchor House.

Clients can also take part in quizzes, bingo, music session and a media group whilst maintaining a “close connection” with Larne Adult Centre through events such as coffee mornings and discos. There are also plans for a gardening project and to take part in the Disability Pride event in Carrick on June 22.

Irish dancing is also available with plans to take part in some festivals. It is inclusive enabling wheelchair users to participate.

“It is all new and exciting. The service users have been involved from the start. They feel it is theirs and feel they have ownership,” said Kellie.

Service user Colm Gilbert commented: “I like all my friends and going to the shop and looking after a robin.”

Rhys McAuley added: “I like playing Sonic the Hedge hog and having good walks around the park. I like to do the multi-sports and football at the leisure centre.”

Joel continued: “I like seeing all my friends and doing the washing. I like going to the Abbeycentre.”

Kellie added: “The local community has been great. We have had a lot of support for our fundraising events.”