From exclusion to inclusion: creating positive futures

cASTING FOR RECOVERY Extern is one of the largest all-Ireland charities with a turnover of £17 million and a staff team of 450. Group Chief Executive Charlie Mack talks to agendaNi about the charity’s work to improve lives and make communities safer.

Who does Extern support?

At Extern, we support three of the most vulnerable groups in our society: homeless people; marginalised children and their families; and ex-offenders.

What does Extern do?

At Extern, our staff are trained to the highest professional standard to take individuals or groups from exclusion to productive participation in society. We are driven by the belief that no-one is a lost cause, or beyond help. Everyone can turn their lives around with the right support. We bring innovative solutions to integrate people back into society – making communities safer.

What change does Extern make?

We provide accommodation and interventions for homeless people and support them until they find long-term accommodation. We provide a range of intensive support services for troubled families including fostering, diversional therapies and life skills training to help young people rebuild their lives and make a positive contribution to society. We help rehabilitate ex-offenders by providing accommodation and support them to find and retain employment thus reducing offending and the impact of offending on victims and the community.

What is the impact of Extern’s work?

Extern’s impact is widely recognised by the wide range of funders and supporters who put their trust in us to change lives and create safer communities. To the general public, Extern’s impact is often unseen but is recognised by the departments responsible for justice, health, education and social development as reducing offending, and tackling health inequalities and social exclusion. Extern works in the most marginalised areas and our input should not be under-estimated – often our work is not glamorous but it is crucial.

What is Extern’s contribution to society?

Extern is a modern, cutting-edge charity that contributes significantly to the joining up and integration of services across the justice, health, housing and education sectors.

We operate from 34 sites across Ireland and last year we worked with around 2,000 young people and their families, 1,800 homeless people and 600 ex-offenders to ensure they were better equipped to live and make a positive contribution in their communities.

Since I came to Extern, we have transformed into a group structure to drive through our business across Ireland. As well as delivering innovative solutions for our clients we train the next generation of social workers through our learning and development contract with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council.

By supporting clients whom other service providers find “too challenging,” our dedicated staff team make a sustainable and long-term contribution to protecting our communities. We do not believe in cosmetic short-term change but rather work for lasting improvement and meaningful long-term outcomes. We offer life chances and life changes for those most in need.

How can our readers support Extern’s work?

Businesses, groups or individuals can use our fundraising tool-kit to raise much-needed funds to support our work. We are also looking for a wide range of volunteers to help refurbish homes, provide essential support services to homeless people, or assist with administrative work. Readers can help by contacting our Business Development Director, Gavin Adams (

EXTERN logo2 CMYK.eps Hydepark House
3 McKinney Road, Newtownabbey
BT36 4PE
Tel: 028 9084 0555
@extern1978 / @charlie_extern

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