Since 2007 SOS NI is proud to have worked in partnership across Northern Ireland to deliver a number of successful programmes. From 2012 - 2017 we worked in our schools to deliver the Schools Education and Empowerment Programme, empowering over 6,000 young people in relation to alcohol so they can make better informed decisions. To help tackle food poverty in the region, SOS started the Food Programme, which ran from 2015 - 2017 collecting surplus food from supermarkets to distribute the food over 50 charitable organisations who in turn helped to feed over 1,500 people in Northern Ireland.
2012 - 2017
In 2017 the Schools Education and Empowerment Programme (SEEP) was delivered for the sixth consecutive year and facilitated to various schools across Northern Ireland. SEEP was an early intervention programme aimed at educating and empowering young people in relation to alcohol enabling them to make better informed choices. The rationale for introducing such a programme came about due to the recognition that an increased number of young people were presenting themselves vulnerable and in need of welfare care; at the SOS Bus at the weekends during the night time economy and also at musical events in Belfast. A percentage of these young people can be as young as 13 years old.
The vision of SEEP was that every teenager can receive the correct information regarding alcohol resulting in them having the ability to make better lifestyle choices in the future; especially when faced with pressure from their peers in their social environment.
The programme was intrinsically linked to the work carried out by our volunteers on the streets of Belfast every weekend and also at events/music gigs being hosted in the city. SEEP consistently received positive feedback from both parents and young people.
With the financial support of both Halifax Foundation and Big Lottery Awards for All, the SEEP week long Summer Programme was successfully hosted at Queens University, Belfast. More than 35 young people from various geographical areas worked alongside BNL Media productions and created three amazing media clips aimed at raising awareness to young about the consequences of misusing alcohol. The media clips were then showcased at Queens Film Theatre in Belfast.
Since 2012, SOS SEEP worked with up to nine schools a year, educating and empowering over 6000 students. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints the programme ceased in June 2018. However, it is our hope that we will continue to be a presence in schools supporting students through talks and workshops hosted by our volunteers.
"The key points I would want to make are that the SOS SEEP programme firstly creates tolerant, compassionate and educated young adults and secondly empowers young adults to make decisions based on facts and when these decisions are questioned by people (usually ones from other schools who have not been fortunate enough to get the programme) to stand by their choice and politely and eloquently explain it. It would be no exaggeration for me to say that the SOS SEEP has changed my life for the better; and of course I had great fun too!"
Cliona Green, SEEP Participant (March 2017)
Students empowered around alcohol
2015 - 2017
The SOS NI Food Programme addressed a major issue that touches on too many people's lives: food poverty. Every day, families across Northern Ireland are faced with the option to either pay a utility bill or buy groceries; buy a school uniform or have dinner that night.
The Food Programme collected perishable surplus food from supermarkets and distributors for delivery to over 50 charitable organisations who in turn helped to feed over 1,500 people in Northern Ireland.
SOS Food Volunteers collected surplus food from 19 supermarkets 6 nights per week. This food was then delivered the next morning to a network of over 50 organisations and charities supporting people facing food poverty.
In 2017 SOS NI were delighted to work in partnership with Agnew Corporate, who sponsored our Food Programme by providing a Volkswagen Crafter Van to assist in the collection of surplus food from supermarkets and food manufacturers/distributors. The Crafter Van enabled SOS NI to collect food and provide fresh foods with limited use by dates over a greater distance and time period, ensuring that more partners would benefit from the service.
These organisations either used the food to prepare meals for consumption on their premises or provided food parcels for people to take home. SOS Volunteers also collected food from a number of food suppliers and producers on a weekly basis. The surplus food was typically bread, bakery goods, and fruit and vegetables, although some tinned and package goods are also provided. Food collected and distributed by SOS Volunteers reached a total value of £350,000— this is good food that would otherwise have gone to waste!
Regrettably, due to constraints in funding the Food Programme had to close at the end of 2017. We are grateful for the volunteers who worked tirelessly 7 days a week to deliver this service and made a difference to so many lives.
"Before my community group
received food donations from SOS NI, one of my clients had to make the choice between buying food and having electricity. With your support, she can manage both."
Theresa Hanna, Welcome Trust
Worth of surplus food redistributed
Volunteer drivers worked 7 days a week