Bridge of Hope: A Wellbeing Centre
Bridge of Hope, a department of Ashton Community Trust, is a health & well-being service that supports individuals affected by the conflict and poor physical & emotional health.
We are based in North Belfast where 577 conflict-related deaths occurred and thousands of people were physically & psychologically injured. A high degree of our 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 20,000 people have accessed wellbeing services through our clinics and outreach sites.
Our mission is “To empower and promote positive change for victims and survivors through delivery of quality health and wellbeing services.”
Wellbeing and holistic services include: complementary therapies; physiotherapy; life coaching; counselling and psychological services; accredited VTCT training; personal development courses and conflict legacy programmes. We also provide support through our two PEACE IV Health and Wellbeing Caseworkers. All of these services are designed to help manage and reduce stress, and encourage the development of positive, healthy and resilient lives. They also encourage exploration of the causes and effects of conflict, dealing with the past and social justice issues. Our services are victims-centred and based on the theory that no single approach will suit everyone. All services are monitored and outcomes recorded. We support people through a range of funding streams made possible by the Victims & Survivors Service, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust (BH&SCT) and Public Health Agency. We are a BH&SCT Primary Care Talking Therapies Hub provider delivering services across the city of Belfast to meet the needs of individuals who are experiencing common mental health problems.
Bridge of Hope is actively engaged in researching the needs of victims and survivors of the conflict so that we can better advocate their needs at a strategic level. Together with our partner at the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, we have developed a community-university human rights programme that speaks to people whose lives have been changed by conflict. The Transitional Justice Grassroots Toolkit Programme is globally relevant to areas moving out of conflict and has been translated into Spanish and Arabic.
Our core staff team is supplemented by sessional practitioners that are Access NI checked and registered with the bodies including: British Association of Counsellors and Psychologists (BACP), Association of Coaching (AC) and Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT). We adhere to Keeping Adults and Children Safe policies. Staff and practitioners are Mental Health First Aid qualified.
- Open – We are available to anyone.
- Respect – We respect everyone’s journey
- Together – We’re stronger in partnerships and collaborations
- Responsive – We listen and are accessible.
- Trustworthy – We act with integrity
- Victim-centred – We are empathetic and understanding of the impact of the conflict. This guides our work and informs decisions
- Best Practice – We adhere to best practice at all times.
- Quality – Our services are of the highest standard.