Community Mental Health Team for Older People Creates a Place of Retreat


Belfast Trust’s Community Mental Health Team for Older People recently transformed an inner quadrant in Graham House, Knockbracken Healthcare Park, into a place of colour and beauty.

Inspired by Emma Sweeney (Community Psychiatric Nurse) and Noel McBrien (Activity Support Worker) a working team spent a weekend clearing the disused area outside of their office window, replacing years of moss and weeds with tables, chairs and hanging baskets. The amazing outdoor space created by them is available to the many different people who work in the building.

Noel explained, “We’d talked about creating a garden here for years, a place that would unite and bring people together.” Since its regeneration, staff working in a variety of teams in the building have enjoyed the improved outdoor communal area, the use of which has strengthened working relations and improved communication. It has also provided a place of retreat to allow staff who are often working in very stressful environments to get some fresh air during lunchtimes, outside of their offices.

Jacqui English (Activity Support Worker), who has been actively involved in the project added, “ We knew we didn’t have a budget so we just looked on places like Gumtree, brought together our own left-over paint and recycled these chairs and tables so we could offer a seated area for all to use. The more people who started to use it, the more we became inspired to build on it.”

With the Summer over, future plans being discussed for the space. These include the planting of Christmas trees and spring bulbs, along with more containers.