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30 years of Hope, Healing and Growth


Pictured above: Osborne & Co's Elaine and Julie during the shop's Christmas Launch Night last October.

Since Osborne & Co. launched at the end of last year we have been collecting money for The Aisling Centre - a local charity promoting positive mental health and emotional well-being.

Based on Darling Street in Enniskillen, the charity will celebrate its 30th year next year - proof that its work is very much needed in our community.

The Aisling Centre is a charity in huge demand and it's services are becoming increasingly more reliant on the generosity of donors.

So, keen to do our bit to raise awareness of its incredible work, we spoke to Aideen McGinley, a member of its Board of Directors, to find out more about how The Aisling Centre is changing lives in our own area for the better.

 

"I think we are all very proud of getting to 30 years," says Aideen, "It is sad that a service like this is needed, but by God, if we weren't here I dread to think what life would be like for people out there."

The reality is that all of us are likely to have witnessed the incredible work of The Aisling Centre - whether it is a case that you have used the services yourself or you know someone close to you who has.

"People know that when they donate to The Aisling Centre, someone will get actual help," acknowledges Aideen, "That help is visible. You can see the tangible difference it makes to people's lives.

"I have done the 'tin-rattling' out on the street myself in the past to collect for The Aisling Centre. I have always found that people are more than happy to give to the charity.

"I remember one man came up to me with a plastic bag full of change. 

"He told me: 'You will never know what they did to help my family'."

Pictured above: The Aisling Centre's Board of Directors.

As it prepares to mark its 30 year milestone, The Aisling Centre continues to experience a 20 per cent increase in demand for its professional counselling services.

In 2017/18, it provided on average 110 counselling sessions per week to people of all ages and walks of life.

And according to Aideen, this demand is likely to continue.

"The main crisis we face in Northern Ireland today is mental health.

"According to this 'Happiness Index' statistic, we are supposed to be the happiest region in the whole of the UK. And yet, we also have the largest number of people in the UK on anti-depressants.

"Increasingly in this world we are living in there is so much chaos - we don't know what the future is going to bring."

According to Aideen, while much of the focus of The Aisling Centre's work centres around the individual, the service has also been reaching out to the community in the last few years through its 'Hope, Healing and Growth' event at the start of each year.

One of the previous Hope and Healing events.

"People need to be able to equip themselves with the tools they need to be more resilient," she says.

"The Aisling Centre provides a little light for people dealing with difficult times in their lives. Through the Hope and Healing event, we can spread that light more widely, to people who are not in a crisis situation, but need some direction."

Previous Hope and Healing events have heard from inspirational speakers including Karen Dwyer, Sharon McGrath, Sarah Griffiths and Declan Coyle.

The next event, scheduled to take place on January 4 at South West College's Skills Centre will include a keynote speech from the charity's patron and line of Duty star, Adrian Dunbar.

"I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of such a brilliant event," says Aideen, "And the feedback from people who have attended the previous events has been fantastic."

The Hope and Healing events have also served to raise the profile of the charity, and likely encourage more people to come forward and seek help through its services.

"We have a wonderful team here," says Aideen, "Fabulous professionals and volunteers who are passionate about their work. Currently there are 13 counsellors, but by the end of September there will be three more, thanks to funding."

 

Osborne & Co's collection box for The Aisling Centre is always located at the till point in-store. 

Anyone wishing to donate to the charity on a more permanent basis can do so through The Aisling Centre's 'Give Hope' direct debit scheme.

"Every penny means a lot to the service," says Aideen, "It means someone is getting the professional help that they need."

For more information on The Aisling Centre's services, visit their website www.theaislingcentre.com, contact the office on 028 66 325811 or email: info@theaislingcentre.com.