The Big House purchased a property outside of Limavady, Londonderry in April 2021, with the long-term goal of creating a beautiful space, with the feel of a family home, where vulnerable young people can stay to have a break from the challenges of daily life and connect with other young people.
Our grant will support The Big House to make significant changes to the building and help to develop the staff team.
The building development will enable the house to accommodate small groups. This will include some internal changes to allow regulations to be met, the better use of space to create a counselling room, en suite facilities, more toilet facilities and an extension to the side of the building to allow group meetings to take place. Dependent on cost, some of the grant may be used for phase three, which is the creation of a dorm block to accommodate larger groups, extra meeting room space and a prayer room.
The Big House would love to have accommodation where young people can stay for weekends or longer, whether that be individual young people, who need a space to come where they can be away from their normal environment, or youth groups who want a weekend away to focus on a theme or difficult issue. The Big House has always run its own camps dealing with loss, self-esteem issues and wellbeing for young people with moderate learning difficulties.
The Big House counselling service, the Listening Space, which has been operating at the house and at Holywood Baptist Church near Belfast, is growing as the difficulties young people are facing are seen more clearly in the light of the pandemic. The building development will create more space to accommodate the need for additional counselling, helping young people through a challenging two years.
The Benefact Trust grant will also be used to support the growth of the staff team, helping to employ a new counsellor and programme worker, as well as supporting the stability of the existing team.
Rev Dr David Rock, Strategic Development Director for The Big House, said: “This grant has not only been a boost to the building project and the stability of the staff team, it is an endorsement of the ethos of The Big House, which wants to support young people in whatever way we can, give them hope and help them to see that they are important and special to God and his people.”
Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “We’re delighted to support this project which will create a safe and welcoming space for vulnerable young people to stay in Northern Ireland. The Big House property will bring young people together, help to improve their wellbeing and give them opportunities to thrive.”
If you would like to know more about The Big House, visit www.thebighouse.org.uk.