Featured Member - Niamh
Established in 1959, Niamh’s mission is to build a flourishing society in which all people have access to services and support appropriate to their mental health, and wellbeing needs.
The charity’s vision is of a society where health and wellbeing is for and enjoyed by all. To achieve this vision, Niamh provides a wide variety of support and therapeutic services and interventions – all focused on supporting people to manage and improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Niamh also pioneers research and policy development to influence public and political opinion, to challenge stigma, and to inform debate. Recently it entered into an innovative strategic partnership with Ulster University that represents a major step forward in collaborative working on local mental health research.
Niamh’s achievements in the sector have recently been recognised with a host of prestigious awards including:
- Investors In People Gold Standard.
- EFQM Ireland Excellence Award.
- CIPD HR Team of the Year 2015.
- British Safety Council International Safety Award.
- Social Enterprise of the Year 2014 (Carecall).
Niamh’s group structure consists of 3 service areas focused on promoting and supporting wellbeing across scoiety:
Beacon provides support services to people with experience of mental illness through supported housing, day support and advocacy services. This is the largest division in the Niamh family and has grown substantially over the past few years.
Beacon’s 15 day support schemes located throughout Northern Ireland provide a range of recovery-focused programmes to over 1,300 people every year and its 28 supported housing services provide accommodation for approximately 430 people at any one time. Its advocacy services dealt with almost 6,000 requests for advocacy support in the last year alone and floating support services for 59 people.
Carecall, which is a social enterprise fully owned by Niamh, provides therapeutic support through workplace-based wellbeing services such as employee assistance programmes (EAP) and counselling, and training and preventative services in a wide variety of contexts including schools, colleges and workplaces throughout the island of Ireland. It has recently further expanded its geographic scope after winning a contract to provide EAP services in Scotland.
Last year alone, Carecall delivered just over 35,000 counselling sessions to nearly 6,500 people and made their services available to 566,000 people, including 185,000 students. Over 2,500 delegates attended Carecall training courses in 2014-15.
Carecall clients include private sector organisations of all sizes and business sectors including the likes of: Liberty IT, Bombardier Aerospace, Facebook and Motupet and public sector clients including Health and Social Care Trusts and various district councils. It also offers support for students and teaching staff in third-level educational institutions including Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University and for various clients in the community/voluntary sector.
Inspire Wellbeing, which is the latest edition to Niamh Group, provides support for approximately 90 people with learning disabilities in various locations across Northern Ireland. It joined the Niamh Group in October 2013, and extends the reach of Niamh beyond mental health in order to also support people with a learning disability.
Planned developments for 2015-16
2015-16 is forecast to be another signficant year of growth and expansion in Niamh’s history with several major developments planned for this financial year as the charity further consoilidates its position as a leading authority on mental health and learning disability in Northern Ireland and beyond.
Funding has recently been secured from Comic Relief to run a major 3 year regional anti-stigma campaign in conjunction with the Public Health Agency (PHA). Working with a range of community-based delivery partners, the campaign will aim to significantly increase public knowledge and understanding of mental health issues whilst working to postively affect public attitudes towards this significant social issue that directly affects as many as 1 in 4 of the local population at any given time.
After a period of extensive consultation and service user engagement, Niamh has made a decision to rebrand to help better reflect its current scope and expanded range of services, supports and interventions. This ‘new look’ is due to be launched towards the end of summer 2015 via a number of stakeholder and media engagements.
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