Neuro Café In Downpatrick Reaches Out To Local Families

Neuro Café event in Downpatrick helps local families with members who are neuro-diverse.

A ‘Neuro Cafe’ event was held this week in Downpatrick at the sport’s hall in the SERC campus to provide support for local families.

It was hosted by the Down Multi-Disciplinary Team within the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, in partnership with community organisations.

Supporting the event were a number of bodies including the Cedar Foundation; ADHD Hub, Newcastle; Community Advice; Clanrye Group; Downpatrick Autism Family Support and Newry, Mourne & Down District Council.

On hand to welcome visitors to the Neuro Cafe in Downpatrick are: Kirsty Arnold, Health Visitor; Yvonne Rooney, School Health; Niall Rotherham, MDT Social Worker; Claire Holden, Children and Young People’s Autism Service; Noelle Hollywood, Community Health Development Practitioner; Pamela Smyth, Carer Support Service; Áine Sloan, Downpatrick Autism Family Support Group; Kirsty Hull, Neurodiversity UK; Andrea Keenan, Clanrye Group; Siobhan Devlin, County Down Rural Community Network and Helen Savage, Cedar Foundation.

The drop-in café was held in the South Eastern Regional College campus at Market Street in Downpatrick.

The event provided practical help to families by bringing together the expertise of local parent support groups and staff from various organisations.

Community Health Development Practitioner, Noelle Hollywood, said: “This event is a testament to the strong partnership between community, voluntary and statutory organisations.

Pictured at the Neuro Café held at the SERC Downpatrick campus were (l-r) Down SureStart’s Maria Kelly with Community Health Development Practitioner, Noelle Hollywood.

“These groups are working together to create a supportive environment for families navigating neuro-diverse challenges.

“We are thrilled with the success of the Neuro Café in Downpatrick. The turnout and engagement from parents, carers and service providers highlights the importance of such events in our community.

“The workshops and sessions were insightful and very well received.”

“The diverse range of stall holders showcased the rich tapestry of services available to support parents and carers in the Down area.

“From educational resources to community programmes, the event provided a comprehensive snapshot of the network of support that is available.

“It is hoped to run a ‘Neuro Café’ in the Ards and North Down area after Easter.  Details will be advertised near the time.”

Attendees at the event had the opportunity to chat to the various supporting organisations and talk to them at a later date in follow ups independently.

The Neuro Café planning group will meet soon and evaluate the pilot event in Downpatrick and will decide on the best format going forward as a collective of groups supporting those who are neuro-diverse.

The Neuro-Café will run again in the South Eastern HSC Trust area on the North Down/Ards side of the Trust in April 2024.