Ballymena woman launches clothing range to fund mental health services for children
Eileen Russell of WayMaker Child Therapy has launched a new clothing line for children and adults called ‘Little WayMaker’ as an income generation stream to raise funds for children to access Play & Creative Arts Therapy.
It all started when in 2019 when the local lady started a journey of self-employment opening a professional play therapist business in Ballymena. It became apparent very quickly that many families fell outside the gap of receiving support as they couldn’t afford to pay for their child.
The stats Eileen knew existed became very real in front of her each day, evidenced by the fact that 70% of children struggling with their mental health are not receiving the support they need. Eileen felt strongly that every child should access the highly qualified professional help they need regardless of their families financial circumstances.
When the first lockdown came, Eileen decided to use her fifteen years’ experience working in the public service to set up a not-for-profit organisation. Since its formation in November 2020, the social enterprise has taken off a storm, now offering Play & Creative Arts Therapy in several locations throughout Northern Ireland including Ballymena, Belfast, Newtownabbey and Antrim.
Play & Creative Arts Therapy is a form of counselling that enables a child to communicate their world and helps them to understand muddles feelings and upsetting events in a safe non-judgemental environment that they control.
To help the organisation become financially resilient, Eileen created a new range of clothing called Little WayMaker, which has just launched and aims to help children and families contribute to mental health by purchasing the products. 100% profits go towards children receiving professional support. Eileen said:
“We have a huge dream to help rewrite the mental health of children in Northern Ireland, and these products help to start this dream.”
Eileen felt it essential to source the products ethically and ensure Little WayMaker products are locally stitched. She was delighted when Sarah Thompson, owner of Ted & Stitch agreed to become their partner of choice for social responsibility. Sarah is also a valued member of the board of directors for the organisation.
Founder Eileen continued:
“I am delighted to launch a range of products to empower families to help contribute to the mental health of children in Northern Ireland. I approached Sarah before the first lockdown and was delighted when she immediately came on board with my idea. Her expertise in retail has been essential throughout the process.”
Sarah Thompson commented:
“I am looking forward to seeing the difference we can make to Children’s Mental Health Services in Northern Ireland. I have seen the positive impact play therapy can have first-hand with my own family through trauma we have experienced. Uniting forces with WayMaker is not only exciting but encouraging as we strive to create a professional service that every child can access.”
To find out more about Little WayMaker products and the services offered by WayMaker Child Therapy, head over to: