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Allotment Growing Success

Launch Tape1

An allotment cultivated and nurtured to become a beautiful plot for the benefit of bereaved people from Lisburn and Belfast has been officially opened by the Mayor of Lisburn Councillor Andrew Ewing.

The Allotment, located at the Little Green Allotments on the Whitemountain Road has been developed by the Beyond Words Friendship Group which was set up last year for bereaved people over the age of 60.  Beyond Words is a partnership project between Cruse Bereavement Care and the Stroke Association which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Reaching Out: Connecting Older People’ programme.

Beyond Words also worked in partnership with AMH New Horizons Derriaghy to help the Friendship Group Allotmenteers in the journey to turn a normal field into a beautiful resource that many people can enjoy today.  AMH Employment Officer Andrea Warwick said;

“AMH New Horizons Derriaghy view the allotment as a positive example of working in partnership.  This has enabled Andrew Dowling (our volunteer) to develop work skills and build confidence while working alongside people from the Friendship Group.”

cruise allotment open day sept 14

Paul Finnegan, Beyond Words Project Manager said;

“Being connected with nature helps people accept the inescapable cycle of life and death and this allotment is a great way for bereaved people to grow plants and vegetables for the future or simply sit back and enjoy the peaceful and tranquil surroundings of the allotments.  The Friendship Group and the Allotment provide the chance for bereaved people to chat freely over a cup of tea with people who have lost their own loved ones and can, therefore, understand something of what we have gone through and are going through.”

The Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Andrew Ewing speaking at the launch of the Beyond Words Friendship Group Allotment, said;

“I am delighted to be at the Little Green Allotments and meet with members of the Friendship Group.  It is commendable that Cruse Bereavement Care can make use of this green space to run a programme for bereaved people over the age of 60.”

The Friendship Group meets on the third Monday of every month between 11am and 1pm.  Members often meet for a coffee or at the allotment in between meetings.  This is a personal choice, with no requirement at all.  To find out more about the group, call Paul Finnegan on 02890 792419

Launch Wheelbarrow


Client Testimonial – Anna in Ards

“My name is Anna and I was born in Krakow, Poland.

In 2006 I was offered employment in a busy clothing warehouse in Newtownards so I decided to move to Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, after a bad experience in my workplace, I was hospitalised and, with no family here and English as a second language, life for me was not good and I was feeling lonely and isolated.







I was referred to AMH New Horizons in 2010 and since then I have engaged in all sorts of courses, completing the following:

  • ECDL
  • CCEA Floristry Level 1,2 & 3
  • CCEA Window Display & VM Level 2
  • CCEA Textiles Level 1
  • NVQ Level 2 Retail Skills
  • Cook It
  • OCN Employment Skills & CV Building

Outside New Horizons I have completed:

  • City & Guilds level 2 Diploma in Floristry, CAFRE, Antrim
  • City & Guilds English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL, SERC, Bangor

My favourite course was floristry. Although I had never done it before I found it relaxing and therapeutic. During my courses I developed a passion and interest in flowers. My tutor Linda told me that I had a natural creative flair and that I would be given the opportunity to complete a Level 3.

At this time I was the first person to complete a Level 3, so it was challenging and it meant working on my own. As part of this course I had to design a floral arrangement for an exhibition at Ards Town Hall, which was being opened by the Mayor.

The title of my arrangement was: “New beginning… the other side of the rainbow.”

This has a very special meaning to me. The rainbow represents New Horizons. Each flower symbolises a range of courses such as floristry, tiffany glass, art, IT, retail, catering etc. The rainbow is the footpath which all of us are walking on, during our recovery.

“The other side of the rainbow,” refers to the time when we leave New Horizons – the new beginning for us all.

I completed my Level 3 and the CCEA moderator commented that my work was of such a high standard, that I should consider continuing floristry to a higher level. So I did and went to CAFRE in Antrim to complete a 2 year Diploma in floristry. In June 2014 I received my Diploma with Distinction.

It was very hard work and involved a lot of travelling not only to college but my placement at Charlotte’s Web in Newcastle.

Without the on-going support from New Horizons during this time it would have been very difficult for me to complete this course. I was also completing an NVQ in Retail Skills and a Window Display & Visual Merchandising Course in New Horizons at the same time.

Both these courses helped me learn basic skills such as dealing with customers and creating displays which were very beneficial in giving me added knowledge for my diploma course and were also very useful in reality, as I have created a window displays for different occasions in my placement which were very much appreciated by the owner, Diane and admired by customers.

I will be very sad to leave New Horizons. During my 4 years here I have learnt so many new skills, been given opportunities I would never have had, met some good friends, my confidence has improved and best of all… I am following the new beginning path where I hope I can achieve my dream of becoming a florist and having my own business.

Perhaps, one day I will give a placement to a clients from New Horizons and encourage them the same way as New Horizons have encouraged me to fulfil my full potential.

I also have to thank New Horizons for allowing me to meet my Italian husband! As I walked along the street each week with my flower arrangements he always commented on how lovely they were.

This summer, we got married in Italy and I was able to make all my own wedding flowers!

Wedding Floristry Collage

Thank you New Horizons, especially my ‘Angel’ key worker Linda, for my new beginning…

… and they lived happily ever after.”

World Suicide Prevention Day

AMH MensSana Project Workers, Heather Robinson, Roisin Tallon, and Cherith Edgar
AMH MensSana Project Workers, Heather Robinson, Roisin Tallon, and Cherith Edgar

AMH MensSana observed World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September, with a balloon release at TESCO Extra in Craigavon to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides.  Staff also hosted an information stand for local people highlighting the wide range of support that is available regarding mental health, suicide and self-harm prevention.

World Suicide Prevention Day is marked annually to raise awareness that suicide is preventable, improve education and spread information about suicide awareness as well as challenging the stigma regarding suicide.

AMH MensSana is the Local Protect Life Resource Service and they are here to help the community regarding suicide and self-harm prevention and mental health promotion.  They are keen to work in partnership with people to deliver and develop helpful supports appropriate to local needs.

DSC_0029The qualified and experienced staff provide an outreach community development service with a particular focus on promoting positive mental health and the prevention of suicide and self-harm through community development approaches. The service enables local communities to address the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the local population. The staff facilitate a range of training programmes to increase knowledge and skills in relation to mental health promotion and the prevention of suicide and self-harm. Some of the programs delivered include ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), Mental Health First Aid Training and safeTALK (suicide alertness for everyone).

The Protect Life Resource Service also operates as a signposting service, providing valuable point of contact and source of support regarding suicide and self-harm prevention and mental health. Staff work confidentially and promptly to ensure the right support at the right time. The staff work collaboratively with a wide range of services across the Southern area and can signpost to the most effective source of support available.

If you have any concerns about any particular issues, or would like to gain more information on the services of the Protect Life Resource Service or if staff can deliver any training to your community group, do not hesitate to contact AMH MensSana on [email protected] or 028 3839 2314.

The Protect Life Resource Service is funded by the Public Health Agency.

If you’re in a crisis and need emotional support please phone Lifeline: 0808 808 8000

 AMH MensSana Supporting you and your community

Together for You reaches 8,600

David Babington, Chief Executive of AMH, welcomes Minister Edwin Poots MLA and Julie Harrison, Committee Member from Big Lottery Fund to Together For You’s mental health shared learning event in Cookstown
David Babington, Chief Executive of AMH, welcomes Minister Edwin Poots MLA and Julie Harrison, Committee Member from Big Lottery Fund to Together For You’s mental health shared learning event in Cookstown

On Tuesday 2 September 2014, Together For You hosted its first annual shared learning event on mental health and wellbeing. Together For You is a partnership project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, aimed at delivering mental health and wellbeing services to a range of people across Northern Ireland. 

Led by Action Mental Health (AMH), services are delivered in partnership with Aware Defeat Depression, CAUSE, CRUSE, MindWise, Nexus, PraxisCare, Relate NI and The Rainbow Project.

The Minister of the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety in the Northern Ireland, Edwin Poots MLA opened the event and welcomed over 90 delegates from across voluntary, community and statutory agencies:

“I am very impressed at how truly inclusive this project is, reaching out to help young and old, men and women, as well as minority and marginalised groups.  There is a real sense of staff and volunteers being fully committed to working together to improve services and support for these people.

I have long recognised the value of our local voluntary sector. Often the staff and volunteers have a personal insight into the needs of those they are helping.  With this unique perspective they can often devise new and more personalised services from those traditionally provided by the statutory sector.  Indeed, it has been as a result of the voluntary and statutory sectors working together that we have been able to achieve the progress to date towards the modern and diverse mental health services envisaged by Bamford.

Together For You compliments the services delivered by the five Trusts, greatly improving the lives of those living with mental health problems. It is vital that those delivering mental health and wellbeing services share their expertise and experiences.  This collaborative approach benefits not only the partner organisations within this project but also the health trusts, other statutory agencies and private sector organisations.  The result is that the people who use our services get better support that is more responsive to their particular needs.”

Amanda Jones, Project Manager, Minister Edwin Poots MLA and Julie Harrison, Committee Member from Big Lottery Fund
Amanda Jones, Project Manager, Minister Edwin Poots MLA and Julie Harrison, Committee Member from Big Lottery Fund

David Babington, Chief Executive of AMH, who compared on the day said

It’s hard to believe that it has been less than a year since the launch of Together For You.  The successful collaboration between the nine partner organisations has resulted in significant progress for the project, and more importantly has impacted a large number of people who have been able to benefit from services delivered. With potential cuts of £140million in the health budget, it is even more important that complimentary services delivered through projects like Together For You are successful and person centred, to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of people living in Northern Ireland

Julie Harrison, Northern Ireland Committee member for the Big Lottery Fund, said:

The Big Lottery Fund is delighted to be supporting the Together for You partnership, which is promoting mental health and well being across Northern Ireland. It is encouraging to see that this contract is providing important services in collaboration, and that these are focused on the needs of users.”

Diana Day-Cody, Chair of Royal College of Psychiatrists NI, told attendees at the event 

“I am so impressed of the amount of work achieved in such a short period of time, and the reach of the project across Northern Ireland, to rural and urban areas.  I really congratulate all the partners for their hard work and committment to this project.  I think we can all learn from the collaborative nature of this work.”

Amanda Jones, Project Manager for Together For You agreed 

We’re delighted with the progress of the first year of the project. Since its launch in October 2013, Together For You has delivered services like befriending, bereavement support, specially tailored counselling, support for carers, mental health awareness programmes, peer group support for LBG&T and volunteering to over 8,600 people. The event today will allow us to share our learning and experiences so far with each other and with other voluntary, community and statutory organisations, helping to further discussion on mental health interventions and service delivery

 For more information on the Together for You project, please visit

North Down & Ards Mayor Hosts AMH Clients

Client and staff from AMH New Horizons North Down & Ards were delighted to be invited for refreshments in the Mayor’s Parlour with Cllr Peter Martin, Mayor North Down Borough Council



The Mayor had attended the recent AMH Client fun day at Crawfordsburn and was interested to find out more about the work of AMH in the North Down area.

Cllr Martin listened to clients experience of the vocational training and personal development programmes which AMH provided and responded to questions which clients had about the new ‘Super’ Council’s role in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing within the area.

Cllr Martin even shared several tips, which he had found helpful in becoming confident at  public speaking.

At the end of the visit Cllr Martin provided everyone with a tour of the Council Chamber, overview of how the Council works and history of the building.  Selwyn Johnston, Service Manager, AMH New Horizons North Down & Ards  thanked the Mayor for his kind invitation to provide an update on AMH’s work in the North Down area and looked forward to linking up with the Council for further events around World Mental Health Day on October 10th.

Cllr Martin commended the work of AMH and outlined that maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing was a priority for everyone in the Borough.

Dander Ball (Walking Football)

dander ball 220

The World Cup might be over and the premier league has not yet kicked off but clients, students and staff at New Horizons Fermanagh are keeping the football spirit alive with their “Dander Ball” (Walking Football).

This activity is all inclusive, it is played exactly like football with one major exception – you are not allowed to run.

Sounds simple, however it is anything but!

dander ball 249

These photos capture some of the actions from the “Messi’s and Ronaldos” of the Dander Ball arena. It was enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.

This whole thing is set to KICK off with AMH Fermanagh putting together a team in the hope of competing with other organisations in the Western Trust area.


It is a great laugh, great workout and very competitive… so give it a try!

See more photos on our Facebook page Dander Ball album here

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Fly Fishing in Fermanagh

Fly Fishing Fermanagh 1

Lucky clients at our New Horizons Service in Fermanagh had the opportunity to take part in a “pond dipping” and “fly fishing” course, delivered by Michael Shortt (a contributor to Trout & Salmon Magazine) and Mark Corps.


Clients were able to learn the theory about the life of the fish, the life of the fly and then the direct experience of seeing wildlife up close and personal at Mill Lough, Ballanaleck.

Fly Fishing Fermanagh 2

It’s a “bugs life” and the group got the opportunity to dip for fly’s in the lake and learn how to recognise the different types and species of fly. Everyone got the opportunity to practice the skill of fly casting and confidence has continually grown over the past three weeks.

The group will get the opportunity in the coming weeks to put their skills to the test in a local fishery to catch trout!

Fly Fishing Fermanagh 3

Steeplechase 2014

Steeple Chase logoRunning Towards Good Mental Health

AMH believes that exercise plays a crucial role in recovery. We are embracing this by preparing for our annual running event: the Steeple chase and Fun chase on 20th September 2014 at Delamont Country Park, supported by East Down Athletics Club.

This is a running event with a difference. Competitors will not only be running through the forests in the beautiful surroundings of Delamont Country Park, but they will also be hurdling, leaping, skipping and/or falling over some obstacles along the way! The jumps will be low enough for everyone to have a go, whether they are elite cross-country runners or complete novices.

There are two distances available: the main event is 6 miles and the fun chase is 3 miles.  All ages and abilities are welcome – the aim is to have fun, feel good about yourself and raise some important funds for mental health services in your area. And there are prizes available for 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners.

Steeple Chase:  Registration fee £10. Registration desk open from: 09.00am with race at 10.00am.

Fun Chase:  Registration fee £5. Registration desk open from: 09.00am with race at 11.00am.

Sponsorship forms are available to download from and you can register online

All proceeds will go to AMH to help our support services and outreach work across NI.

Steeplechase Photocall  3