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We are the Lighthouse Hostel

We are based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, the Lighthouse Hostel is a residential homeless facility for men.  Our mission is to empower men to grow in confidence and ability by supporting them in their personal development towards in­de­pen­dence and enable them to enjoy life and become a positive contributor to society.

About the Lighthouse Hostel

  • The Hostel first opened in 2002 as a community outreach under the umbrella of Living Rivers Trust.
  • Initially an eleven bedded facility, we have grown to accommodate up to 20 men.
  • We are a team of 16 paid staff plus volunteers.
  • Our facility now provides for those with high support needs with interview and training rooms on the ground floor.
  • We accept men between the ages of 18 – 65yrs, who meet our admission criteria and provide them with full board and supported living.
  • These men have been referred directly from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).
  • Each resident has a key worker who is there to encourage, challenge and support them in progressing towards independent living.
  • We link our residents into professional local services to ensure they receive the help and advice they deserve.
  • Internally we work off personalised support plans geared towards helping residents make positive decisions and attaining self set goals.

The Lighthouse Hostel is funded by Supporting People and our support process corresponds with the requirements for the Supporting People QAF (Quality Assessment Framework).  This framework creates accountability for both staff and residents whilst achieving results through supported independent living.


Our Support Process

1. Interview

During the initial interview, staff collect background information on the applicant, this is achieved through a formal interview with the applicant and discussions with other related agencies such as probation, social services, PSNI and other hostels, were the applicant states he has used their services.

2. Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is then carried out on the applicant, which assesses the potential risks they pose to themselves, residents, staff and the community. This information is then passed to management who review and make a decision.

3. Needs Assessment

The needs assessment is completed 3 days after referral and support plans are developed. This identifies areas that the resident needs to address to enable independent living.  There are 5 sections included in the needs assessment and these are reviewed quarterly.  Reviews help the resident track progress and identify any new needs.

4. Monitoring Outcomes

As part of the Supporting People framework we have incorporated outcomes monitoring in to our needs assessment.  Developed from the outcomes star, residents must identify where they are on their ‘journey of change’.  The journey is scored from 1-10, With 1 being denial and 10 being self sufficient. We have found this to be an invaluable tool as it gives the residents a visual picture of where they are and the progress they have made along their journey.

5. Support Plans

Support plans are developed as a tool for residents to set short term achievable goals that will enable them to achieve their overall goal, maintaining independent living. These plans are lead by the residents and they are encouraged to think of their own solutions and advise their key workers in how to support them. Support plans are reviewed quarterly at a residents request or when a plan has been completed.

6. Key Workers

When a resident is referred to the Lighthouse they are allocated two key workers, a primary and a secondary. They have the main responsibility for overseeing their support during their stay. This support includes completing the assessments and plans stated above, but also includes weekly support meetings, advocacy and sign posting.

There are many individuals and organisations walking with us on our journey.  Their assistance is invaluable and ranges from food donations, investing time, offering single donations to ongoing financial assistance. We are eternally grateful to everyone who involves themselves in the success of the hostel and to the support of our residents.


Our Partners

  • One of our core CSR objectives at Chain Reaction is to support our local community. We are always conscious of our impact as an employer, as a supplier and as a contributor to local projects. So when Mark Forsythe contacted us and told us about the Lighthouse Project we were very keen to become involved in whatever way Mark felt would be most beneficial to the project. Mark was keen that we support the project with a partnership approach rather than a pure funding arrangement. I visited the Lighthouse premises in Ballymena and was moved by the positive atmosphere and practical approach taken by the staff and the clients to improving the lives of each and everyone spending time there. I was determined that Chain Reaction should make a positive contribution to this worthwhile initiative. This involved us working closely with Mark and his team to come up with a number of innovative ways to support Lighthouse in their vision to “bridge the gap between homelessness and independent living”. From a financial perspective, we were happy to make a donation that the team are putting towards what they see as being ‘best use.’ Mark also asked that we provide some work experience placements for clients that they felt would benefit from taking part. We have run just one of these so far, but I believe that it was a positive experience for both the client and also for the staff at CRC who supported his placement and provided him with valuable feedback after the event. The Client’s feedback was: "It was great, 10 out of 10 from me I had lots of fun and enjoyed the experience of the job and meeting new people”. He also said it gave him a valuable insight to the world of work both positive and negative. We have agreed with Lighthouse that we will facilitate further placements in the future as they require. I would encourage other employers out there to do the same. It is a worthwhile exercise that benefits both the client and your own organisation. We are keen to continue to build the partnership we have established with Lighthouse and wish them future success in the valuable work that they do within our local community.

    Chris Watson
    Chris WatsonChain Reaction Cycles

Would you like to help or support us?

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do you support and how long for?

The Lighthouse is covered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is aimed at single homeless men, between the ages of 18 and 65. The housing support lasts as long as 2 years, allowing our residents time to procure new housing.


How is the service accessed?

Anyone who wishes to become a resident of the Lighthouse must be referred to us by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).


Who can you not accept?

Clients either convicted of or currently with outstanding charges awaiting court proceedings for Schedule 1 offences of a sexual manner.
Clients assessed as high risk such as a history of violence or arson.
Anyone who holds an active tenancy elsewhere.
Females or juveniles under the age of 18.
Foreign nationals who do not hold a current NINO – (National Insurance Number) The Lighthouse will also take into consideration the current mix of residents to ensure there are no risks to them.


What happens if the criteria is not met?

In the case the resident does not meet the criteria they will be referred back to the NIHE (if they are FDA status) before 16:30 so as they can obtain accommodation for them. The reason for non acceptance will be provided both verbally and in writing to the resident.

The Lighthouse Hostel will do all it can within reason to help any resident who does not meet the Lighthouse criteria and is not FDA status and therefore cannot be referred back to NIHE.

How does a referral work?

All referrals must be initiated through the NIHE Ballymena.
This includes NIHE offices both inside and outside of the Ballymena District area who must first contact Ballymena NIHE as the District Office.

Clients meeting NIHE FDA (Full Duty Applicant) status will be referred, however residents not meeting the FDA status may still present themselves to the Lighthouse after first being interviewed by the NIHE.

Referrals from the NIHE will be made Monday to Friday between 9:30 and 15:00 in order for an interview and risk assessment to be completed.

If there is availability an interview will be held with the resident and a risk assessment completed.
The resident’s permission will then be sought in order to contact other agencies they may be in contact with or have been in contact with in order to complete the risk assessment.

If the resident has resided at the Lighthouse previously their file will be reviewed and relevant information pertaining to risk will be considered in their application before offer of accommodation made.

Can a decision be appealed?

Yes, anyone who wishes to appeal the decision of non acceptance may do so in writing within five working days to the:
Lighthouse Management Committee
2-4 Railway Street
BT42 2AB

We are a team of caring and dedicated success strategists.

The Lighthouse Team come from many different backgrounds with each individual bringing different strengths, skills, personalities and approaches to the organisation.  This results in a well rounded service to our residents.

Fun fact:  Did you know that in order to run the Lighthouse twenty four hours a day, seven days a week it takes 8 full time staff, 2 relief workers, 2 bank staff, a cleaning assistant, an administrator, a support officer, and the manager.

  • Mark Forsythe
    Mark ForsytheManager

    Time in Post

    9 Years

    What do you like about working in the Lighthouse?

    Working with people and problem solving.

    Which of these is an interesting and true fact about me?

    A) I have lived in three continents.

    B) I have earned a million and lost a million.

    C) I have completed over 100 parachute jumps.

    Hover over to find out!

  • Louise Quinn
    Louise QuinnDeputy Manager

    Time in Post

    6 Years

    What do you like about working in the Lighthouse?

    I love the Lighthouse as every day is different.

    Which of these is an interesting and true fact about me?

    A) I speak 3 languages.

    B) I read 5 books per week.

    C) I have met the queen.

    Hover over to find out!

  • Gavin Knox
    Gavin KnoxSupport Worker (Full Time)

    Time in Post

    Coming Soon

    What do you like about working in the Lighthouse?

    Coming Soon

    Which of these is an interesting and true fact about me?

    A) Coming Soon.

    B) Coming soon

    C) Coming Soon

    Hover over to find out!

028 2564 7654

lhhcentraloffice@lighthousehostel.org  8 Linenhall Street, Ballymena, BT43 5AL

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