About

The concept of a children’s contact service for the Ballymena area was launched in the autumn of 2001, when a public meeting was called to gauge interest and support for such a venture.

Obtaining Registered Charity status was the first priority, closely followed by initiatives to raise money, find premises and recruit a coordinator. The aspiration of the charity was to provide services in the greater Ballymena area with a view to expanding to other towns. With this in mind it was decided to register our name as a Contact Service rather than just a Contact Centre.

After several years of struggling to find sufficient funding, enough was raised to recruit a professionally qualified coordinator. This was due primarily to the Tudor Trust who provided a substantial grant to launch the service and continue to assist the Service in meeting annual costs.

Office premises were initially found with the help of Women’s Aid and High Kirk in Ballymena proved equally as generous in allowing the Service to use their premises in which to hold the contact sessions.

The Ballymena Area Children’s Contact Service (BACCS) was able to welcome its first parents and children in November 2005.

Following successful fund-raising the Service recruited its second salaried staff member in 2007 in the form of a Volunteer Coordinator. The same year the Antrim Centre opened and in 2009 the service expanded further with the opening of a centre in Larne. In 2013 the centre in Larne moved premises and is now held at the Greenland Community Centre on the Old Glenarm Road, Larne.

Ethos

Children are the centre of our focus at BACCS and the reason for our existence. We believe that the investment of our time and efforts in their future happiness is a reward in itself. It has been very heartening to see the results of the work so far, and knowing the Service has helped many families already, has spurred everyone involved on to greater efforts.

Without Contact Centres many children would not see their absent parent at all and miss out on the value that this undoubtedly brings to their lives.