New premises marks another milestone in development of Action Mental Health

July 7, 2009

On Tuesday last, the Patron of Action Mental Health New Horizons and former chairperson of the Southern Trust, Mrs Fionnuala Cook, officially opened the charity’s new service on Canal Street in Newry.

This marked another milestone in the development of an organisation that has been providing a much needed service to clients across the Newry and Mourne district for the past twenty years.

Mr Ian Walters, Chief Executive of AMH, was present at the opening and said, “I am so proud of what has been accomplished by both the staff and clients here in Newry.  This new building and the modern facilities are just the first phase of the new plans for the Newry Service, and we hope, in the next few years, to also have a new modern AMH training facility in Greenbank Industrial Estate to replace the existing building. “AMH recognises the changing needs of our clients and the support necessary to equip them with relevant and desirable qualifications and opportunities of further education, so they are able to enhance their lives both socially and professionally”.

Brian Hughes, Service Manager of AMH New Horizons Newry & Mourne added, “It is important to highlight the achievements of our clients and for our clients to be able to train in a friendly but professional environment. I would like to thank the business community, not only for their attendance at this ceremony, but also for their continued support to the organisation over the years. I also welcome the new Employers’ Forum which has been set up to support clients in employment options and to further raise the profile of AMH and the service we provide”.

Peter Fitzsimmons, Chairman of NICO, expressed his delight to being asked to join as a member of the new Employers’ Forum.

“I take an interest in voluntary groups and charities in the local community and can’t wait to get started on this project. Major concerns for mental health are the stigmas and misunderstandings that surround the issue, we hope in the Forum to be able to look at real ways to break down these misconceptions and start to address discrimination and lack of opportunity”.

John Feehan, Mayor of Newry and Mourne Council, said “It is great to see at first hand the service provided by AMH in Newry. I know some staff and clients as friends and they always have great praise for the good work that goes on in the Unit. We wish AMH New Horizons Newry & Mourne every success in the future”.

All those attending the opening ceremony were invited to view the new facilities and try out the excellent training equipment.

AMH New Horizons opened its doors in Newry over 20 years ago and the new Canal Street premises is its second in the town, the first being situated in the Greenbank Industrial Estate. The charity works to improve the health and well being of people with mental health needs, by creating opportunities towards independence and employment.

AMH Newry & Mourne, John’s Story

“I live locally and noticed a new modern type office building in Canal Street. The following day a new sign had been fixed to the front of the building – AMH. I knew that AMH worked with people recovering for mental ill health, and as a sufferer I decided to be brave, go in and enquire about what exactly went on in the building. Mary Jordan, a staff member and now my Instructor in AMH New Horizons, explained to me the courses on offer and the process I needed to go through before I would be able to join.

“I had no computer experience, so the courses on offer seemed to be too advanced for me, but Mary convinced me that all clients joining the service would be assessed and start on a level that matched their ability at the time. I decided there and then that I wanted to join and felt comfortable with the type of tutoring and friendly atmosphere in the unit.

“I felt nervous on the first morning but after a short period of time felt very much at home. I felt more confident and quickly gained qualifications in NSP.CLAIT and have recently completed my forth module of E.C.D.L. I have also completed other courses such as First Aid, Drug Awareness, Money Management, and Stress Management and am currently working towards a qualification in Adobe Photoshop.

Although I was nervous walking through that door, I am so pleased that I did, the future looks brighter. I am proud of what I have achieved and I have also enjoyed every minute”.