Action Mental Health’s Foyle New Horizons celebrates 25th anniversary

Action Mental Health Chief Executive David Babington (left) got the recent festivities marking the 25th anniversary of Action Mental Health's Foyle New Horizons underway, with Service Manager Mickie Harkin  who has been with the centre for a quarter of a century by lighting the mettle-testing firewalk.
Action Mental Health Chief Executive David Babington (left) got the recent festivities marking the 25th anniversary of Action Mental Health's Foyle New Horizons underway, with Service Manager Mickie Harkin who has been with the centre for a quarter of a century by lighting the mettle-testing firewalk.

Action Mental Health’s Foyle New Horizons service has marked 25 years of providing a lifeline for people experiencing mental ill-health.

The day’s festivities featured a barbeque and an array of events for New Horizons clients, staff and local supporters, including councillors and Assembly members, to take part in, including firewalking and glasswalking.

One of the many brave clients at Action Mental Health's New Horizons Foyle who trod the blazing coals of the firewalk as part of recent festivities to mark the 25th anniversary of the centre.

One of the many brave clients at Action Mental Health's New Horizons Foyle who trod the blazing coals of the firewalk as part of recent festivities to mark the 25th anniversary of the centre.

The event also showcased arts and crafts created at New Horizons Foyle, including a feature flower meadow depicting AMH’s overarching theme of cutting out the stigma surrounding mental ill-health.

New Horizons first opened up in Derry in June 1993.

The past 25 years have witnessed numerous highlights, from anti-stigma campaigns, including the challenging ‘Don’t Lose Your Marbles’ events, to the one-of-a-kind sofa made from books, to mark the ‘What’s Your Story?’ initiative during the City of Culture year.

There was also a collaboration between AMH and artist Pat Ross, and the creation of a glass fiddle by client Billy Henderson, which had the honour of being displayed at Stormont.

Fundraisers have helped sustain the future of the regional service over the last quarter of a century. Individuals have walked, run and abseiled to fundraise for AMH Foyle and donations have also been made by generous local companies and statutory bodies.

Foyle Service Manager Mickie Harkin stated: “This anniversary event is all about the countless clients we have helped, from their first tentative and nervous steps into New Horizons, until they moved on to the next phase of their lives, more positive and usually clutching certificates of achievement in various vocational courses.

“But it’s also about the many individuals, organisations, employers, funders, partners, staff and our clients’ families who have all contributed to help us build the service, and who continue, to this day, 25 years later, to make it what it is, and will continue to be in the future.”

The project is part-funded through the NI European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.