Ballybeen Women are Living Life to the Full

Ballybeen Women’s Centre has been supporting women in the Ballybeen area of East Belfast for over 30 years. It was established to address the developmental needs of women within a community defined as disadvantaged.

Over the years Ballybeen Women’s Centre has developed expertise in the design and delivery of education and training programmes, health promotion programmes, cultural diversity programmes, family and childcare programmes and advice and support. 

Amanda Marshall, Education and Training Co-ordinator for Ballybeen Women’s Centre commented “More and more women are coming to the centre wanting and/or needing help and support to deal with the stresses of everyday life and depression.”

Like any voluntary and community organisation, Ballybeen Women’s Centre relies on funding to provide the range of services on offer, funding which is not unlimited. The new £3million Big Lottery Fund Together For You project has allowed the Women’s Centre to tap into additional resources and training, which otherwise would not have been possible.

Amanda continued “Without the support of Together For You, Ballybeen Women’s Centre would not have been able to offer the Living Life to the Full training from Aware Defeat Depression. The programme has been of great benefit to the women who participated and to the women’s centre. We were really pleased we could offer it to women in their own community.”

Eight women completed the six week course, all of whom found it extremely beneficial.

Sally said “I found out about the Living Life to the Full course through word of mouth. Over the last four years, I have suffered a number of bereavements in my immediate family, and was finding life very difficult.  I felt that I was on a downward spiral. I wasn’t able to show my emotions in public, but instead would have got angry or annoyed, even with the smallest of things.  I realised that I was taking out my anger on my daughters but didn’t connect this behaviour with the other things happening in my life. 

The course has allowed me to deal with my emotions better.  It has shown me that my behaviour is all related to what is happening in my life, and also showed me the impact it might be having on others around me. I plan to do more courses through the womens centre, and to keep myself busy with my grandchildren…..i’m going to be the best Granny ever.  I realise now that life is for living.”

Linda said “I wanted to find out more about how to cope. The [Living Life to the Full] course helped me realise that my thinking had a lot to do with how I behave. I’m now going to try and use all the things I’ve learnt to help me deal with things. It’s a great course, and I would urge anyone to give it a go.”

Hazel said “The course made me think of ways to turn my negative thoughts into positive thinking instead. To be able to go out and do what I wanted instead of stopping and thinking of all the things that could go wrong.  I am now able to enjoy the good things instead”.

Sandra said “I felt I wanted to do this course to help me with depression and negative thoughts. I liked meeting new people and found this course very helpful in helping me to cope with certain situations in my everyday life.  It has made me more motivated and has made me want to do more things and I would encourage anyone to do this course

Jacqueline said “I suffer from Bi Polar disorder and manic depression.  I found the course helpful in some ways, even though at times it was hard to speak in front of others or put things on paper due to low mood.”

Valerie said “It was very interesting. I have been coming to the centre for four years and have a special needs son at Torbank.  The course has helped me make decisions to cope better with him, and has built up my confidence to deal with any problems I have to deal with in the future.”

Living Life to the Full, delivered by Aware Defeat Depression, is a life skills programme with a cognitive behaviour approach suitable for people with low mood or mild to moderate depression.  It is just one of the education and training courses currently on offer for free through the Together For You project.  For more information contact Aware on 028 9035 7820 or email



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