News / Blog


Hi folks,

We are having a Christmas raffle to try and gather some much needed funds.

Tickets are available to buy from the main building and the outreach centre in the town. If anyone wishes to donate any food items toward the hamper that would be great. All proceeds go to Breakthru. 


Draw will take place Friday, 14th December 2018

Thank you for your continued support from all at Breakthru.

Hello everyone.  We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to help Breakthru.  As part of a submission to the Big Lottery People and Communities programme Breakthru is carrying out a community consultation.  We would appreciate your response to two basic questions.  Please reply through comments, a private message or by e mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. PLEASE REPLY BY FRIDAY 24TH JULY.

  1. What are the issues that concern you in your local community?
  2. How would you like to see Breakthru work with the community to tackle these issues?

IMPACT: Substance Misuse in the Family Conference


(Conference held by Breakthru, 18th May)


Agreeing actions to tackle the significant harm many children and young people experience due to parental drug and alcohol misuse was the focus of the ‘Impact: Substance Misuse in the Family’ conference held on 18th May by Breakthru.


The conference brought together health and social care practitioners, support organisations and key stakeholders, including Koulla Yiasouma the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, to consider how to protect children and young people from Hidden Harm.


Hidden harm describes the situation of many children and young people affected by parental alcohol and drug misuse. Many suffer in silence and don't know where to turn for help.  Others do not realise they are living with it.  There may be a deep and long-lasting impact on children and young people which may not fully emerge until young adulthood and beyond.


The conference also heard about the impact Breakthru’s Drug Intervention and Community Education (DICE) project, funded by Big Lottery Fund, is having in supporting young people aged 8-21, who are care experienced and have been affected by parental alcohol or drug misuse. Bernadette McHugh, Breakthru Service Manager, highlighted how the DICE project has been critical for so many young people:

‘DICE has provided focused support to help these young people address Hidden Harm during particularly challenging periods of their life.  Indeed, for every £1 invested in the DICE project £6 of social value has been created.


Delegates acknowledged that Hidden Harm remains a significant issue across Northern Ireland. There was agreement that to successfully tackle Hidden Harm there must be a greater focus on awareness, training, education and a joined-up approach in the provision of support services. Projects such as DICE provide a clear insight into what can be done to effectively tackle Hidden Harm and it is essential the positive contribution these projects provide are recognised and shared.





AMBIT 2017 Study Visit Supporting Young People at Risk

Sean Murray, our Dungannon/Coalisland Neighbourhood Renewal worker visited New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC between March 5th and March 17th on a study visit as part of a group of 16 youth practitioners and community leaders.  The visit was funded by the Washington Ireland programme with the aim of exploring US policy and practice regarding young people at risk of becoming involved with the Criminal Justice system.  The group met workers and policy makers from a number of the leading organisations in the field of supporting young people at risk.  Over the next week or so on Facebook and our website blog we will be highlighting Sean’s experience of some of the organisations he encountered.

Covenant House, New York, Monday March 6th.

Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas, providing shelter, food and immediate crisis care to homeless and runaway youth.  Whether they are running away from home, were thrown out by a family member, or are coming in from the subways or the streets, homeless kids have a place at Covenant House - no questions asked. Covenant House New York serves over 400 homeless youth daily.  Sean and the group attended a presentation on the work of Covenant House followed by a question and answer session and an exchange of ideas on practice in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the US.  Sean said, ‘Covenant House is non-judgmental and accepts young people where they are in life and works to help them progress with a comprehensive service including a health check and an individual care plan and key worker.

Hetrick-Martin Institute, New York, Monday March 6th

The Hetrick-Martin Institute believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.  Hetrick-Martin creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13 and 24 and their families.  Sean said, ‘I was impressed with the dedication of the Hetrick Martin workers who seek to deliver educational programmes so that the young people can express their full range of abilities’.






IMPACT ' Substance Misuse in the Family' Conference
MAY 18, 2017
9AM - 3PM

Glenavon House Hotel , 52 Drum Road, Cookstown , BT80 8JQ

The IMPACT 'Substance Misuse in the Family' conference brings together experts from across Northern Ireland and beyond working in the field of 'Hidden Harm and FASD' to share best practice and build support for future action.

Speakers include the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, Joy Barlow MBE, previously Head of STRADA and Cynthia Silva, Developmental Psychologist. The conference will also share findings of a 'Social Return on Investment' study into the DICE (Drug Intervention and Community Education) project delivered by Breakthru.  

Places are limited to 100 so please be advised to book your place as soon as possible.  To book click on the link below.

A number of Exhibition Stands are available at the conference. If you would like to book a stand to share information on your organisation or work contact Breakthru on 028 8775 3228. Stands will be allocated on a first come basis.


Detail Data Report Into Underage Drinking in Northern Ireland


  • Under 18s have been admitted to hospital on 655 occasions with alcohol related conditions in the past five years.
  • A 2014 health census showed a total of 519 under 18s were receiving treatment for alcohol problems.
  • In the 2014 drug and alcohol census it was stated that 327 under 18s were receiving treatment for alcohol issues, with an additional 192 receiving treatment for drug and alcohol problems.
  • The PSNI seized alcohol from under 18s on 1,161 occasions in the past two years. This included seizures from children as young as 12. The number of PSNI seizures from underage drinkers more than halved from 723 to 320 in the ten months following the establishment of 11 new police districts in 2015.
  • There have been 153 prosecutions and just 57 convictions relating to minors at licensed premises in the past five years.
  • Historically, the overwhelming majority of alcohol licences were used to run public houses. In recent years huge numbers of licences have transferred to off-sales. The number of off-licences, including those at supermarkets, has increased by nearly 60% since 1999 leading to concerns that it is easier than ever for young people to access alcohol by way of proxy purchasing where an adult purchases alcohol on behalf of someone who would not be permitted to buy it themselves.
  • Around 2,700 premises are currently licensed to sell alcohol in Northern Ireland. These include traditional pubs, hotels, restaurants and off-licenses. According to HMRC, tax takings from the sale of alcohol totalled £340million in 2015/16, with the hospitality industry estimated to be worth £1.2billion each year.




Among the proposals put forward by the community and voluntary sector for tackling the problem of underage drinking is the introduction of minimum pricing per unit.


“All the evidence demonstrates that in countries where minimum pricing for alcohol has been introduced, problem drinking such as binge drinking reduces and hospital admissions reduce.  For me it is one of the really clear actions that government can take to stop problem drinking. It prevents the ability to buy in bulk. I’m not sure why we wouldn’t think minimum pricing is a good idea.” Children’s Commissioner Koulla Yiasouma

I am currently in my second year of a Community and Youth Work Degree at Ulster University, Jordanstown.  As part of my degree course I am here on placement with Breakthru Dungannon getting involved hands on with the range of services that they offer.

So far I have been involved in all aspects of the work of Breakthru getting to experience how they engage with young people and different communities.  I have been involved in outreach work within the Dungannon and Coalisland areas. Along with another co-worker this gave me the opportunity to work with young people on the street and get a sense of the issues they are dealing with.  I have also been involved in the CookIt programme working with another member of staff in Ogras Youth Club Coalisland.  I have had the opportunity to work with a range of groups including groups of young adults in Parkanaur College. This has given me the opportunity to work with young adults with learning and physical disabilities, something that I have never done before.  I have been involved with a group of young men from St Patricks Academy doing work around life skills and giving them the space to learn and talk about issues facing them in and outside of school.  The chance to talk with Breakthru staff members on the work that they do has been an important part of the placement for me.

I am gaining important and relevant experience through my placement at Breakthru and will get involved in as many areas of their work as possible during my time here.  I am getting to experience many different types of youth services all of which are new to me.  Having the chance to work with all members of the community and not just young people is something I hope to continue to do. Lastly I intend to enjoy the experience and to continue to learn as I go on.