Belfast Health and Social Care Trust



A partnership approach treating conflict related injuries with a range of clinical and non-clinical interventions has been shortlisted for The Guardian Award for Innovation in Mental Health Services at the 2018 Advancing Healthcare Awards in London.

The service, provided through the Belfast Trust, and the Ashton Community Trust’s Bridge of Hope supports individuals who have been physically or psychologically impacted by the conflict and, as a result, are experiencing symptoms such as chronic pain.

This nomination comes after success in the 2017 NI Advancing Healthcare Awards when the partnership won both the Seating Matters award for innovation and creativity as well as being the overall winner on the night.

Those benefitting from the service are supported by Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, Francis McMonagle, at the Mater Hospital. Using a holistic approach Francis works to address physical manifestations of stress held in the body which can impact on intestinal, cardio, respiratory and mental health. As well as using traditional physiotherapy techniques, mindfulness-meditation and Tai Chi are also used as treatment methods.

Frank Young, Co-Director at the Belfast Trust said: “I am delighted the service has been nominated for such a prestigious award. It has been designed to treat and care for those in the community who have been directly impacted upon or may have suffered significantly, as a result of Belfast’s violent past, by caring for their mental and physical trauma. In partnership with Ashton Community Trust, a wide range of patients and clients have directly benefited from this truly innovative service.”

Irene Sherry, Head of Victims & Mental Health Services at Ashton Community Trust said she was delighted that the community statutory partnership was being recognised nationally.

“In Belfast particularly, the enduring physical and psychological impacts of the conflict continue to affect many individuals and families. We know this highly innovative pilot works extremely well with our clients and in conjunction with our multi-disciplinary team. We are truly indebted to the Victims & Survivors Service who funded this creative and innovative piece of work and also to the Belfast Trust for their support and vision.”


About Bridge of Hope: Bridge of Hope, a department of Ashton Community Trust, is a community wellbeing service that supports individuals affected by the conflict and poor physical & emotional health. It is based in North Belfast where 577 conflict-related deaths occurred and thousands of people were physically & psychologically injured. Their work is also delivered in West Belfast where 623 lives were lost. Statistically, the highest number of all conflict deaths took place in areas of high deprivation. North & West Belfast are highest regionally for deprivation and poor health outcomes. North Belfast deaths to cancer, suicide and alcohol are the highest anywhere. It also has the highest level of peace walls and conflict continues here. Since 2001 over 21,000 people have accessed wellbeing services through their clinics and outreach sites. For more information see www.thebridgeofhope.org and www.ashtoncentre.com
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About Belfast Health & Social Care Trust: Belfast Trust is the largest integrated Health and social Care Trust in the UK. It delivers integrated health and social care to approximately 340,000 citizens in Belfast and provides the majority of regional specialist services to all of Northern Ireland. It has an annual budget of £1.3bn and a workforce over 20,000 (full time and part time). Belfast Trust also comprises the major teaching and training hospitals in Northern Ireland. Read more: www.belfasttrust.hscni.net

About the Awards: The Advancing Healthcare Awards recognise and reward projects and professionals that lead innovative healthcare practice and make a real difference to patients’ lives. Read more www.ahpandhsawards.co.uk/