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Changing children’s lives through the wonder of play


Eileen Russell, WayMaker Child Therapy, with Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey


Play therapy and creativity are making big differences to little people’s mental health and wellbeing, thanks to the work of a not-for-profit social enterprise spearheaded by Ballymena woman, Eileen Russell.

Eileen has thanked Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for its support at every step of her business journey, and recently invited Mayor, Councillor William McCaughey, to the company’s premises in Kells.


With 15 years of public sector experience under her belt, Eileen set up WayMaker Child Therapy C.I.C. in 2019.

Since then, the ever-increasing pressures and child mental health waiting lists across Northern Ireland have only further cemented her commitment that every child should have access to highly qualified help when they need it, regardless of a family’s financial situation.

To support the growth of the business, Council’s Business Escalator Plus Programme initially provided expert mentoring to assist with web and ecommerce development.

This unlocked a wider pathway of supports, which included the InnovateUs Programme to develop a Virtual Learning Environment online, delivered by South West Regional College’s InnoTech Centre, and funded by the Department for the Economy.


Eileen Russell, WayMaker Child Therapy, with Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey, and Allastar McGarry, Council's Business Client Manager

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey, said:

“I was delighted to meet Eileen and the WayMaker Child Therapy team to hear how their work is making a real difference to children and families all over Northern Ireland.


“Eileen spoke very highly of the business and mentoring support she has received from Council, and it was fantastic to see the results of that in such a successful and important social enterprise.

“I would encourage all businesses, and even any individual who is just thinking about starting out on their own, to find out what help they can avail of through Council’s Economic Development Team at www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk

Eileen added:

"From the first step, I have felt very supported throughout my business journey by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.


“The council’s Business Client Manager, Ally McGarry, keeps in touch regularly to share opportunities that are relevant to the business. As he has developed an in-depth knowledge of our business, he can advise and provide wrap-around support to keep us moving forward.

“I am very thankful for all their support and expertise and look forward to continuing my journey. If you are a business in the Mid and East Antrim area, please get in touch and let their expertise help your business think strategically to develop and grow.”