Thrive by creating a welcoming space in the former Sligo Garden Center to promote good mental health

Flourish is a new evidence and research based community mental health pilot initiative being developed in Sligo/Leitrim in conjunction with the HSE and mental health charity, Havin’ a Laugh.

Once established and evaluated, it is hoped that the model will be extended to other communities in Ireland.

Research points out that 1 in 4 members of the population will at some point experience a negative mental health problem. With a population of around 90,000 in Sligo/Leitrim alone, 22,500 people will or could experience mental health issues.

In reality, the figure is much higher, given that people may be hiding poor mental health. In the past, a village took care of the village as a community. Flourish aims to harness the power of community, of any community, and to provide the facilities, people, skills and activities, in a one stop shop, to enable the community to meet the mental health needs of his members.

For the past three years he has consulted with the Sligo/Leitrim community about mental health. What was required was a welcoming, friendly, open and safe place that offered a listening ear, immediate and ongoing trained support, 24-hour availability, evidence-based activities to improve wellbeing, and facilities to greater community involvement.

Flourish, is that place. Based in the former garden center in Ballytivnan, Sligo, Flourish will be open to all, providing a welcoming space, anytime, to have a cup of tea, meet friends, talk with trained volunteers, take part in activities and events, visit (or get involved in) organic gardens, cafe and learn about all other community resources and supports. Intervention, prevention and maintenance underpin Flourish’s vision. That’s what was asked for, that’s what Flourish can deliver.

Flourish will assist in all aspects of an individual’s life, including access to lived experience support, education and training opportunities, work experience, as well as volunteering, organic gardening, sport, leisure, art and culture.

It is designed to be fully adaptable to the unique needs of each individual. During the year, it is hoped the facility will also provide a safe space to go to in times of mental health crisis as an alternative to attending the accident and emergency department at the hospital,

with the development of a full on-site crisis support team. The integration of this team would be a major investment and resource across Sligo/Leitrim mental health services and support.

Flourish was designed to be self-supporting from the second year, thanks to its future garden, café and training income. However, seed funding is urgently needed. Support is needed to bring this project to Sligo and the North West. Gofundme link