Background & History of Crocus Special Needs Association

Crocus Special Needs Association was established in September 2003, through Anne Arnold, to address the lack of services and facilities for young disabled people, their families and carers.

Mission Statement: Crocus Special Needs Association is a Christian based voluntary organisation which values and supports people with disabilities, their families and carers, by demonstrating through word and deed God's great love, compassion and care for everyone.

Crocus Special Needs came into being after a local lady named Anne Arnold felt clearly that the lack of services and facilities for young disabled people and their parents and carers needed to be addressed.  Subsequently a notice was placed in the local newspapers inviting parents and carers of young disabled people to a meeting on 14 April 2003 in Tullygarley Community Centre, at which they could express their views on the matter. After some discussion, parents and carers who attended this meeting strongly agreed that a group should be established.

The name (Crocus) was derived from the scriptural verse Isaiah 35 v 1 which says "...the wilderness will rejoice and blossom, like the crocus, it will burst into bloom".  This verse is about hope and Anne felt that this was what the Association is to be about - giving hope to people of all ages who have a disability, their family and carers.

The Association began running in September 2003 with Anne as Chairperson for a number of years.  However, towards the end of 2006 Anne felt she should go to the Philippines to work amongst children. Sadly she took ill while in Manilla and passed away there in January 2007.

Before Anne's departure, Fred Dowie assumed the role of Chairperson. Fred remained as Chairperson until July 2013. He was a great asset to Crocus. Crocus is now run by a small comittee and a group of volunteers, who are very enthusiastic and a great help to the Charity. 

Crocus Special Needs Association is a Registered Charity.

We have our "SNAPS" (Special Needs And Parents Support) group in Cullybackey Community Centre, 10:00am to 12:00 noon on Wednesday's (term time) for toddlers and/or parents support.

We also have a youth club at Galgorm Community Centre, Ballymena from 7:30pm to 9:30pm on the second and fourth Friday nights of each month, term time, for young people aged 11 years upwards.

We have a varied programme at the Youth Club where the members enjoy movie nights, line dancing, ten pin bowling and occasionally making jewellery.

We have a family night with a Christmas Buffet and Disco in December, just before Christmas.

Plus our annual snooker tournament and flower arranging competition with cups presented for the winners and runners up of both at our annual formal dinner.  

On our youth club nights parents can have time to themselves if they wish, or they can stay and enjoy chatting to other parents and volunteers.  

Originally the age for the youth club was 16 - 25 but because of enquiries about younger people (age 11 years upwards) Committee agreed to lower the age, and then members aged 25 years upwards kept coming, so it was agreed that they could become "senior members" with a different coloured t-shirt, as Crocus is a big part of their social life.

We rely on fundraisers and donations to continue running Crocus.  We have fundraised in different ways, car boot sales, coffee mornings, bag packing and holding concerts to name a few methods. Some businesses are kind enough to donate items either as prizes or for auction at our fundraisers. All monies raised benefit these young people, either by helping towards the running costs, insurance, food etc., or towards one of our outings. 

For more information please e-mail: or call Fred Reid on 07803143821.