Belfast’s cross-community youth centre Ledley Hall Boys and Girls Club has become the first organisation in Northern Ireland to be accredited with the Makaton Friendly Silver award for outstanding commitment to communication inclusion training.
A special ceremony took place on Friday 17 February to mark the occasion. Guests included Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Michelle Kelly; the High Sheriff of Belfast, Councillor John Kyle; and Andy Allen MLA.
The Makaton Friendly Silver award is bestowed on organisations which have achieved a consistent set of criteria relating to staff training and Makaton accessibility in their public areas. Over a seven-year period Ledley Hall has completed Levels 1 - 4 of the Makaton training programme fulfilling the requirement to earn this prestigious Award.
Ledley Hall has worked with Makaton Tutor Grant Wetherall, of sign language training company SignSimply, to train leaders, parents, volunteers and boys and girls, many of whom have varying degrees of communication challenges.
Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Michelle Kelly said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Ledley Hall to be the first youth club in Northern Ireland to receive this tremendous award. It is truly a credit to East Belfast.”
Michelle Fullerton, Ledley Hall Youth Worker in Charge, said: “Over the last seven years we have made significant investment in our work to be actively inclusive, identifying the need to become trained in Makaton to ensure effective communication and inclusion for all our members. We are now in the fortunate position where all Ledley Hall staff, as well as some of our volunteers and parents, are trained to Level 4 in Makaton.”
Makaton Regional Tutor Grant Wetherall said: “Over the past seven years I have enjoyed working with Ledley Hall to realise their goal of making communication accessible for all. I am delighted that their dedication and hard work has now paid off and they can be recognised as an example to all NI organisations who seek equity of inclusion.”
Find out more about Makaton Friendly