On a bright, warm July evening, six families from all over Northern Ireland arrived at Corrymeela Community’s centre overlooking Ballycastle and Rathlin Island. They were welcomed by a host of Cruse and Corrymeela volunteers who had been preparing for this moment for six months.
The opening session of the first ever “Roots and Wings” family residential acknowledged both the pain and the hope that had brought us all together – the death of a beloved parent in each of the families, and the hope of finding common ground with others and creating new memories.
The 11 children and 7 parents who had the courage to say “yes” to attending the weekend have been part of Families Learning Together (FLT), a partnership project between Cruse Bereavement Care and Corrymeela Community, supported by the Big Lottery Fund.
While some of the families had met before at FLT activities, the weekend gave them a chance to share their stories and get to know each other—from monster hunts to panoramic painting, cooking classes to the enchanted forest, sunny beach play to songs around the fire, new friendships emerged.
The families themselves expressed this best in their “messages to the future”:
“If you’re having a hard time coping, come here; there are lots of people who know how you feel.”
“New friends is my gift from this weekend.”
“Welcome and enjoy every moment because it goes too quickly.”
“You’ll love the break from routine and seeing your kids making friends.”
“You’ll learn lots of new things. And you’ll learn you’re not the only one.”
The FLT staff and volunteers wish to thank each of the children and parents involved with Families Learning Together; you have taught us so much by sharing your lives and letting us walk alongside you for just a few hours.
For more information about Families Learning Together, contact Elaine Roub, Young Cruse Coordinator: 02890-792419 or Elaine.email@example.com