Inspirational mum is a community hero
A mother-of-three’s inspiring effort to support autistic teenagers in Northern Ireland during the coronavirus pandemic - has been recognised and honoured by The National Lottery and Repair Shop host Jay Blades.
It’s two years since 38-year-old Christina O’Neill, from Antrim, became frustrated at the lack of specialist opportunities available for her children - with a 30-mile journey needed for them to access services. Now her charity ‘All About Us’ is supporting more than 150 children. Christina’s fundraising and campaigning efforts have earned her a lasting tribute in the local community, in the form of a bespoke bench which will be positioned in Antrim Castle Gardens, distinctively designed by BBC Repair Shop’s Jay Blades.
The charity worker is one of 12 ‘Unsung Champions’ across GB and NI being recognised for their time and efforts in supporting some of the most vulnerable in communities during the pandemic. Christina said: “We received funding and we started delivering fortnightly packs to the kids. We’d have different activities that we would do, such as wellbeing exercises, to help them to calm down.”
As for the ‘Unsung Champion’ honour, she said: “Everybody deserves the credit - not just one of us.
“The last two years have been absolutely fantastic - we’ve supported 150 children over lockdown and are in the process of taking over our own unit which is going to have a 20-year lease on it.”
Presently ‘All About Us’ only supports children, but Christina is looking for volunteers and more fundraising to broaden their reach to include young adults too.”