Ashton Community Trust was very successful in the delivery of its Communities in Transition Health and Wellbeing Programme in the areas of New Lodge and Ardoyne. All targets were achieved and, in some cases, exceeded expectations. Indeed, the feedback from participants and stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive. The support from our 86 recruited Champions and Befrienders, the professionalism and experience of Ashton Community Trust, YeHa and Lighthouse staff ensured the success of this programme, despite the unprecedented interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without this help, our achievements would not have come to fruition.

The programme brought people together across the two CIT areas where it explored health and wellbeing, both at a personal and population level. It did so through co-planning, co-designing and co-producing the various interventions and outreach events. Some key points to highlight include the training provided for Community Champions and Befrienders. This was paramount in upskilling and equipping participants in the field of health and wellbeing and, additionally, supporting them to help other residents within their local area. Furthermore, numerous social media videos were produced throughout the programme. Videos and animations brought a welcome development in promoting the Take 5 steps to wellbeing (Connect, Keep learning, Be active, Take notice & Give).  These online resources are available on and will leave a long-term legacy of the phase 1 programme.

An extensive working Service Guide for the CIT Area was developed in partnership with Healthy North Belfast and NICVA, increasing awareness of existing health and wellbeing Services.

The 5-month Take 5 steps to wellbeing social media campaign and our virtual health summit, “One Small Step, One Giant Leap for our Community” was received very positively locally, regionally and further afield. In addition, the Community Celebration Events demonstrated the collective effort of all those engaged throughout the programme and demonstrated the huge talent within New Lodge and Ardoyne. All the outreach and engagement events were well attended and received by local communities.  Overall, over 50 organisations participated and engaged fully in the programme.

The difference the programme has made in the community and through Champions and Befrienders cannot be underestimated. Indeed, the work completed will last and be appreciated for generations to come for the betterment of residents and the community in North Belfast. As one participant stated from attending the Health Summit, “…. This is brilliant. I am thrilled there is a great engagement on this. Our cities are crying out for joyous living for healthy communities”.

All information and links to our catalogue of resources can be found on Ashton Community Trust Website and YouTube Channel.