Cornabracken Afterschool CIC

Cornabracken Afterschool Community Interest Company (CIC) is based in Omagh and provides integrated and affordable childcare for children from four to 12 years old in an environment that assists and enriches the children’s development, education, life opportunities and enjoyment. Its services have a crucial role to play in ensuring that families have equal access to high quality childcare. The CIC operates in the Strule Ward, an area of significant social disadvantage. The organisation initially opened as a result of Bright Start funding - the Northern Ireland Executive’s Programme aimed at implementing the Childcare Strategy with key actions to provide integrated and affordable childcare.

Mentor: ARC Healthy Living Centre

The Afterschool CIC applied to Elevate as they felt their work helped to address health inequalities in their area. They were keen to engage with a mentor who could support them to promote the active participation of people within their community and develop a deeper understanding of collective action to provide positive changes within the community.

The Elevate grant enabled the group to provide a series of Arts and Crafts and Physical Activity workshops to engage with school-aged children who were suffering the impact of health inequalities in the community. The project aimed to help remove some of the feelings of isolation and loneliness exacerbated by the pandemic. The workshops provided a safe and secure space for the children to develop critical, creative, independent and active decision making and participation. The sessions supported the children to recognise and build on their existing skills, knowledge and expertise in order to promote their mental and health and wellbeing.


The project had an important impact on the children who were supported in their right to define themselves. They were aware of their own and each other's vulnerabilities and the means to address them, making them more aware of diversity. Also, in attending, the children were connected into a closer-knit community and feelings of isolation and loneliness were tackled.

ARC Healthy Living Centre's Aidan Ormbsy was the group’s mentor. He was able to signpost Cornabracken to other community sector organisations such as Women’s Aid and Core NI for collaboration. These meaningful and productive opportunities enabled the group to reflect on their own systems and structures in order to improve outcomes for their children and their families. The mentoring also had significant impacts with the support offered by Aidan helping the organisation to develop its community development practice particularly around active participation.

The Elevate training on Community Development and Health Inequalities also made an impact offering ‘a wonderful opportunity to reflect on best practice and the staff members developed a deeper knowledge and awareness of community development and engagement with communities’.

“The children have developed confidence to self-manage their mental health and wellbeing and have developed meaningful connectedness and belonging which has enabled them to grow, learn and develop and contribute to a positive change in their lives.”

Melanie O’Kane, Cornabracken After Schools CIC