Northern Ireland’s premier outlet shopping destination, The Boulevard in Banbridge, has linked up with a local charity to encourage kindness and companionship amongst young people.
The charity Via Wings based in Dromore, County Down, has partnered with The Boulevard ahead of a new school year to raise awareness of loneliness amongst the younger generation and to help encourage young people to open up about their feelings.
To support this important initiative, the team at The Boulevard created a special Friendship Bench in collaboration with Via Wings. Situated in the vibrant mall of the retail scheme, it is hoped that the Friendship Bench will inspire young people to speak to their peers about their worries and woes.
Via Wings project, MiniWings offers an afterschool club to children, referred by local primary schools. This provides a comfortable space for school kids to complete homework, play with their peers and learn new skills.
Chris Nelmes, Centre Director at The Boulevard said:
“It’s been a tough year for everyone, and this Friendship Bench is just one way of trying to encourage young people to form friendships and develop their own support network from a young age.
At The Boulevard we strive to create an environment for all customers and have introduced more green spaces and made a significant investment to provide a Changing Places room to improve accessibility at the centre.
We hope the addition of this new Friendship Bench will provide a comfortable space for young people to sit, have a chat and potentially make some new friends.”
Gail Redmond BEM, Via Wings Founder spoke about The Boulevard’s support of raising awareness of social isolation.
“As families prepare for their children going back to school, we welcome the support of The Boulevard to help raise awareness of loneliness & isolation in our community. Via Wings aims to support everyone in a practical, loving, caring and non-judgmental way and offers a wraparound service including a food bank, counselling, mentoring, afterschool kids club and art and music therapy.”
Via Wings tackles generational poverty and supports people in the local community, helping tackle issues related to; poverty and living on the bread line, social isolation, mental health, crisis and emergency situations.
Anyone that needs additional support or someone to speak to can get in contact with the charity by calling 028 9269 8378.
The Boulevard is currently encouraging all local children to get involved in its latest Win the Window competition to be in with the chance of winning everything they need for the new school term including items from Clarks, The Works, Skechers, Jack Jones Jr and more. Entrants are asked to tell The Boulevard what they missed most about school via their Facebook and Instagram channels. The competition closes on Friday 27th August and the winner will be announced on The Boulevard’s social media channels.
Keep up to date on the latest news from The Boulevard at: www.the-boulevard.co.uk, follow @theboulevardbanbridge on Facebook and Instagram or on Twitter @theboulevardni.