Jim Wells MLA opens AMH Garden Centre

Jim Wells MLA and Nora Craig
Adrian Jackson and his self-made “Shovel Cockerel”
Paulette Thomson (Horticulture Skills Instructor AMH)

Downpatrick was the birthplace of Action Mental Health, almost 50 years ago.  Founded in 1963, Action Mental Health aims to enhance the quality of life and the employability of people with mental health needs or a learning disability in Northern Ireland.


The Garden Centre in Downpatrick, moved down to its present site from the Downshire Hospital 17 years ago.  This opening follows the first re-development of the centre since then, at a cost of £45k.  AMH raised the funds, with additional support from the Garfield Weston Foundation and the John Acheson Foundation.


The Garden Centre is a commercial venture, open to the public and run by the clients, who are also studying for NVQ level 1 & 2 in horticulture.  They grow and sell a range of summer bedding plants, bushes and shrubs, hanging baskets and window boxes.  They also grow vegetables for use in the unit canteen. The centre provides the clients with the opportunity to gain employability skills – a chance to work as part of a team, improved confidence, retail experience, and an opportunity to engage with the general public.

Jim Wells MLA was treated to a tour of the garden centre, and had a chance to chat to the staff and clients who work there.  After officially opening the centre, he joined guests for tea in the sunshine.

All the photos can be found on our facebook page

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