Leaving Limbo: “Strength is not about pretending to be okay”


Our dear young friends Natasha and Minahil are stars in the Documentary Leaving Limbo: “Strength is not about pretending to be okay

They have grown up in the Lissywollen Direct Provision site in Athlone and have completed their Leaving certificate.

Natasha and Minahil have shown just what is possible to achieve in extremely difficult circumstances.

Their first venture was an RTE DOC-ON-One Podcast “Our Teenage life behind bars“.  After that they became UNICEF youth ambassadors telling the story of young people in direct provision in Ireland.

There is a lot of talk about the costs, in both human and monetary terms, of migration. This documentary instead looks at the incredible benefits young people in DP  bring.

“Leaving Limbo” airs Wednesday 1st January, 6.30pm on RTÉ One. Catch up on RTÉ Player.

New Horizon in 2019

The Great Volunteer Margaret!

Dear friends,

I had intended writing before Christmas to say a very sincere thanks for all the work done over the year. However the bereavement on the Athlone site put a stop to that plan and I’m only getting around to doing it now. So it’s New Year greetings instead!
2019 has been a really good year for New Horizon, a quick look back produces an absolutely astonishing list of work done.
In our regular offerings we have; the drop-in clinics, the mother and toddler club, the children’s library, the English language classes, the Arabic language and culture sessions, the various computer skills sessions, the Kingfisher club arts project and lots more.
Let’s not forget the great, and underappreciated, work that goes into volunteer recruitment, training and Garda clearance.
Special events during the year were the Big Hello in Lissywollen and Temple, participation in the Canadian wake and Famine walk events in Strokestown and Mullingar, and of course the great  kids Christmas  party. Better not forget the cosmetics distribution, that was both important and fun!
The organisation has come together in a big way too.
We spent almost six months writing documents and plans, dotting i’s and crossing the t’s for the charity regulator approval. We now have a Data Protection policy, a Business plan, a Child safeguarding statement, a Child safeguarding risk assessment, a Conflict of interest policy, a Constitution, an Organisation chart (phew!). We also have new policies and tools for reclaiming expenses, requesting purchases and handling our new welfare fund.
31st July was a big day when we got our wonderful Regulator of Charities Number 20204649! This enhances our credibility, makes it easier to get funding and gives access to technology donations.
Benefits started flowing practically immediately, Google donated the Gsuite business package, HSE came up with €2000 for children’s library and drop-in clinics. Best of all, AIT students Union did their Day of the Dead Halloween event and donated €4000 to us. The AIT book sale covered the Christmas party costs. The Soroptimists gave a generous donation, contributed to the cosmetics collection and offered support in the future.
We have had training sessions in community development skills, mental health first aid, and self-defence for women. NH has joined the Wheel, the coordinating body for charities and NGOs which gives us access to lots of training and governance materials.

I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has, so generously, donated their time and energy to NH activities. To all volunteers, to donors, to the NH committee, to the AIT management and staff, to the AIT Students union and International Students society, and to the management and staff at Lissywollen and Temple DP sites.To Westmeath community development and Westmeath volunteer centre and Athlone Community radio.

And above all, thanks to current and former residents of the DP sites for allowing us to walk a little part of their road with them.
Thank you all  for your hard work, your cooperation, your help, your kindness and courtesy.
Looking forward to 2020.

Nhlanhla Baron Masuku

I’m very sorry to have to announce the death of Nhlanhla Baron Masuku on Sunday 15th December.

Baron was from Zimbabwe and had been living in Athlone since early 2018.

He was a kind and gentle man that everyone liked. He had recently received his leave-to-remain papers and was working on family unification.

He will be deeply missed by his friends in the asylum-seeking community, New Horizon volunteers and his tutors and classmates in Athlone Institute of Technology.

On behalf of all New Horizon volunteers I’d like to offer our sympathies to his family and friends.

Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.


The Great Kids Christmas Party

Saturday 30th we had the traditional New Horizon Children’s party in Athlone Institute of Technology.

Yes, I know it’s a bit early but the hall is booked for examinations most Saturdays in December. It did not have any effect on the enjoyment though!

Lots of children,music,  noise and laughter, food and goodies.

Thank you to all who supported the event, to AIT staff and students, NH volunteers and the people who did the fundraising.

Watch this spot for photos from the day. In the meantime you can check out the video on Fr. Shay’s page.


Karate Classes In Temple!


Karate Classes in Temple DP site

Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings .

All welcome!

Karate is an ancient form of martial arts originally from Okinawa, Japan. The word “Karate” literally means “empty hand”. This is because it was founded from the concept of defense without weapons. Karate is set apart from other forms and practices for its variety of physical and mental health and wellness benefits. Most importantly; its profound emphasis on hard work, discipline, courtesy, and dedication, mental, physical and spiritual balance is unparalleled.

Those who practice it benefit much in terms of mental wellness and mindfulness. Some can benefit from it for weight control, and overall physical fitness. Karate is founded on strong principles such as discipline, patience, integrity, and respect, which makes it excellent for self-defence. Furthermore, I believe that anyone can benefit greatly from the practice of karate.

The Temple Accommodation Centre karate schools is free of charge and open to everyone regardless of age, gender, background, or religion. The aim is to fight against crime and substance abuse, and playing a part towards the development of the community.

Karate is also a very useful tool in the empowerment of vulnerable groups such as women, children and those with disabilities through self-defence classes. Overcoming personal obstacles, doing better in all spheres of life, and having a complete overall state of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being is more than anyone can ever ask for, and worth more than money can buy.

Your volunteer tutor is:

MC Makapela

Westmeath Community Development Training Programme 2019

Westmeath Community Development  are doing their annual training programme in November and December.
Some really interesting topics.
I’ve done a few in the past and they are really useful
If you would like to attend sign up online and let me know please.
Media Skills 9.30-1.30pm
Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Clonown Rd, Athlone
14/11/19 Equality and Diversity Training 9.30-1.30pm Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Clonown Rd, Athlone
21/11/19 Committee Skills 9.30-1.30pm Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Clonown Rd, Athlone
28/11/19 Funding Workshop 9.30-1.30pm Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Clonown Rd, Athlone
5/12/19 Garda Vetting
Westmeath Community Developments Offices, Blyry Ind Est, Athlone, N37 CA39
12/12/19 Minding your Mental Health
2.30-4.30pm Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Clonown Rd, Athlone

Feet of a Dancer?

‘The Ceili Way, Social Dancing for Older People‘ will take place in Tormey Villas Community Centre on Wednesday, October 23rd next from  12:00 – 14:00.

It will provide participants the opportunity to meet new people and enjoy a light lunch and refreshments.

Ceili Way Poster