About 2017-04-25T04:00:55+00:00

About Adam’s Camp Northern Ireland

Our Vision

Adam’s Camp envisions a world where children and young adults with special needs and their families are empowered with the courage, hope, skills and tools for a lifelong journey of realising potentials and developing strengths.

  • Rose swimming

Rose’s Story

After the initial shock and then acceptance of their beautiful and unique daughter’s diagnoses of autism and moderate learning disability, Rose’s Mum and Dad (Grainne and Anthony) did everything they could to best support her with the resources that were offered to them here in Northern Ireland.

They took her to weekly sessions with O.T. Physio, and speech and language therapies with mixed and varied results. However, when Rose started mainstream school with a full time assistant her additional support was reduced to one therapy session every three months. At home the family were experiencing more and more extreme and bizarre behaviours which took over ‘normal’ family life. In the Dec. of 2014 they decided to look further afield for therapy for children with autism. After extensive research online, Rose’s mum came across Adam’s Camp. She instantly got a gut feeling that this was the right place to bring Rose. “I just loved the idea that it included the entire family, because so much of who Rose was up to that point affected us all. We all needed help and support.

They decided on the location of Nantucket Island for their camp and took Rose, her older sister Grace and younger brother Rowan on the long journey to the States in July of 2015. They were reassured from day one they had made the right decision. The camp ran for five days, Monday to Friday and included sibling’s camp, parent support workshops and all-important respite.

As each day passed, Rose changed before her parents’ eyes. She did things she’d never done before and they couldn’t believe the end result. Grainne says, “Rose astonished us every day. She progressed more in five days than she had in years.” At the end of the week we were invited to a one hour conference with the five therapists who presented a detailed report on everything that happened in the therapy room and how to implement this at home, for continued success.

Anthony says, “We can honestly say we brought back a different little girl. She’s much more mature, has more confidence and is just a happier child.” Rose continues to do well. It’s not perfect. Not every day goes according to plan, but her parents have realised that by using the strategies effectively, family life runs a lot more smoothly.

On their return, the family felt compelled to share their story with the autism community. So it is with much encouragement and excitement and an offer from Bob Horney (co-founder and Adam’s dad), to outreach the camp in Northern Ireland, that Grainne and Anthony have taken on this ‘Awesome’ task of Adam’s Camp NI.

Northern Ireland’s Board of Directors and Staff

Adam's Camp Board - Grainne Ashe

Grainne Ashe
Founder and Director of Programmes

Grainne lives in Belfast with her husband Anthony and is the proud Mum of three beautiful children Grace, Rose and Rowan.

Before Grainne had her children she worked for Belfast health and social services board. For 18 years, she was employed in many roles including Residential worker, Outreach worker and Day Care worker. Grainne worked mainly with adults and young people with physical disabilities, developmental delays and mental health problems. Her principle role was to provide interesting and stimulating activities/therapies for the services users, while working closely alongside the therapists, social workers and family.

Grainne is excited and thrilled to take on this new and challenging role as Director of programmes. She has always strongly believed that no matter what a person’s disability, given the right support, encouragement and belief they can reach their full potential.

Grainne is also the Founder of our Northern Ireland Adam’s Camp. In July of 2015 she took her family to Nantucket, New England, U.S. and had a life changing experience. She then felt compelled to share this therapy model with the Autism community back home, for families in the U.K., Ireland and indeed Europe. Adam’s Camp’s unique intensive, multidisciplinary programme didn’t exist outside of the States, until now. Grainne has the full support and encouragement of the U.S. Adam’s Camp team.

“We went to Adam’s Camp in the States not really knowing what to expect, but wanted to try something different for our 6 year old daughter Rose who has autism. I loved the model from the beginning as Adam’s Camp believes if you have a child with special needs it affects the entire family. So they provided therapy, activities and respite for every member of the family. We all changed during that incredible week at Adam’s Camp. Rose is so much more mature and able to cope better with life, and overall just a happier child. She really did blossom in the ray of sunshine that is Adam’s camp.”

Adam's Camp Northern Ireland Board - David

David “Ellis” Barnsley
Board Treasurer

David “Ellis” Barnsley grew up in Wales, before working in Wolverhampton and then moving to Northern Ireland in 2012. His first taste of Adam’s Camp came through the inaugural 2016 programme at Corrymeela.

Ellis has worked as a musician, pastor and university chaplain. Married to a Texan, and with two sons he spends most of his time wearing many hats with the Corrymeela Community or delving into his passion of specialty coffee.

Although very modest, Ellis is also learning to enjoy writing about himself in the third person.

Adam’s Camp has a proven record of transforming family lives, and he hopes to be a part of that continuing tradition through Adam’s Camp NI.

Adam's Camp Northern Ireland Board - Martin Lynch

Martin Lynch
Patron of Adams Camp NI

Born and brought up in the docks area of Belfast, Martin is one of Northern Ireland’s leading playwrights. His plays include: The History Of The Troubles (accordin’ to my Da), Chronicles Of Long Kesh and Dancing Shoes:The George Best Musical. He founded the not-for-profit Green Shoot Productions theatre company and is the founding visionary of Cathedral Quarter. He played a leading role in establishing the Community Arts sector and has long been a champion of access to the arts for everyone. Martin is a very enthusiastic supporter of Adam’s Camp NI and lauds its inauguration in Northern Ireland as much needed and timely. He intends to promote the great work of the charity at every opportunity.

Adam's Camp Northern Ireland - Brian McLoughlin

Brian McLoughlin

Brian, who is married with three grown children, first got to know Adam’s Camp NI when he was volunteer duty manager at Corrymeela for the first ever Adam’s Camp in Northern Ireland in July 2016. Impressed by Adam’s Camp’s transformative effect on the lives of children and families, and by the dedication and commitment of its therapists and volunteers, he subsequently joined the Board. A solicitor by profession, Brian worked first as a litigator, and later as a government legal adviser, until his retirement in 2013 and has now gone back to university to study history. In addition to his involvement in the Corrymeela Community he is an active member of St Vincent de Paul in East Belfast, and a volunteer befriender with the Alzheimer’s Society. When not studying he can be found walking the hills of County Antrim.

Adam's Camp Northern Ireland Board - Ruadhrai O'Kane

Ruadhrai O’Kane
Board Chair

I originally come from just outside Dungiven and have lived in Belfast since starting University in 1995 completing a
degree in Quantity Surveying in 1999. I have worked for NIE Networks since 2001 in various roles and currently work as Contracts Manager.

I have played traditional music from an early age predominantly on the fiddle. I enjoy informal music sessions and have been involved in several bands over the years recording several albums. I also enjoy teaching music and have given workshops and performed at various festivals throughout Ireland, UK and Europe.

I have been married to Michelle for over 10 years and together we have 3 children Aibhne (5), Eaclain (4) and Fóla (2) with another baby due in January 2017. Our eldest son, Aibhne, was diagnosed with autism aged 4.

While seeking autism-related information we came across Adam’s Camp NI and applied for Aibhne to attend the inaugural camp as a Pathfinder. We didn’t know what to expect but are so glad that we did participate and we have watched Aibhne develop immensely since camp in July 2016 and we are looking forward to next year. Adam’s Camp provided a holistic therapy experience for our son and the therapists worked tirelessly with all the children to ensure that therapy was tailored to suit the needs of the individual child and worked to achieve predetermined outcomes agreed with parents at the start of the week. The wonderful Corrymeela team ensured that siblings were well catered for. This therapy model simply is not available anywhere else within the UK or Ireland.

I was moved to get involved with Adam’s Camp NI to make a difference for children with autism as we experienced how being at camp made a difference to our family. We cannot wait to return to Ballycastle and the environs of Corrymeela next year!

Adam's Camp Northern Ireland - Julie Smylie

Julie Smylie

Julie is mum to Luke and Megan as well as working full time as a senior social worker in the northern trust. She currently works with young people aged 16-24 who have experience of the care system and has previously worked in child protection and residential care.

Throughout her time in social care, Julie has experienced the frustrations that many parents of children with autism, disabity and special needs encounter particularly with regard to assessments, services and timescales. It was listening to Grainne’s passionate recount of how Adam’s Camp impacted so positively on her daughter and family as a whole that led to the interest in becoming involved in her vision for a camp in Northern Ireland.

Any free time Julie has she enjoys travelling, eating out and shopping, especially for shoes!