Sunday, June 16, 2024



By Lisa Ramsden

NEWCASTLE charity Mind Your Mate and Yourself (MYMY) has plans for a major expansion right at the heart of the community.

As part of an exciting project, the organisation has confirmed it will relocate its services to the town centre, in a move the MYMY team and supporters are ‘banking’ on becoming a major success in this next chapter in its existence.

The charity will move its operation to a prime location along Newcastle Main Street early next year, providing even better accessibility to services for the local community.

With demand for counselling services growing stronger, the charity will start the challenging task of refurbishing the former AIB bank building to provide a charity shop and community space on the ground floor, whilst the first floor will include private facilities for its counselling service and wellbeing programmes, plus office space for staff.

Members of the charity’s Board got to walk through the premises and learn more about the renovation when they visited the premises on Friday afternoon.

MYMY’s chief executive, Deborah Boden, and the charity’s committee chairman, Paul Walsh, have said the benefits of the charity’s relocation will be far-reaching.

It is envisaged that, once relocated, MYMY will be able to double its counselling capacity, in addition to offering new wellbeing activities, enhancing volunteering opportunities and making its services even more readily available in one bespoke facility.

Speaking about the move, Deborah explained that, for almost 16 years, MYMY “has provided support to our community, our family members, our friends, our colleagues and our neighbours as they have dealt with a range of challenges”.

This support comes in a range of forms, such as free counselling sessions.

It has grown to include complementary activities such as yoga and mindfulness, as well as volunteering opportunities at its charity shop, located in Castlewellan.

Describing the plans for the future as “exciting”, the charity’s CEO explained that for every one pound of support provided by the community, it is estimated that MYMYs work generates £24 of benefit, through less sickness, more productivity and less medical interventions being needed.

“This means that, through the generosity of our community, those in need are getting the right care at the right time so they can enjoy happier and more productive lives,” she said.

“MYMY makes an impact on our community and we want to continue to answer the ever-growing demand for support,” she added.

As Paul Walsh outlined, the demands on the charity, coupled with the growing requests for assistance, are an indication of the current situation replicated in towns, villages and cities, locally and globally.

“The demand for MYMY’s services continues to grow, our waiting lists have doubled in the last six months and our current counselling team are providing more counselling sessions than ever,” he revealed.

Acknowledging the community’s support since the organisation was established, the local man added: “Our community has always been right behind MYMY every step of its journey and we are delighted to be able to offer our services right at the heart of our community.

“We are about supporting our community where it’s needed and welcome the accessibility and focus this will give our work.

“The local community has, through their donations, enabled MYMY to support those in need of help promptly and locally.

“The new premises will allow MYMY to do this better.

“With the ongoing help of the community we are investing in our services for the good of our community.”

He concluded: “With this level of demand and the recognition that more needs to be done, MYMY is setting out to double our counselling capacity; offer more wellbeing activities; enhance the opportunity for volunteering and engagement and make our services even more accessible and sustainable in one bespoke facility.

“To do this we will once again need the support of our community and look forward to announcing our fundraising plans shortly.”

The community-based mental health and well-being charity was founded in 2008 by a number of local families who had been bereaved by suicide and was, initially, known as PIPS Newcastle and District.

Then, in 2015, it renamed, opened a counselling centre along Newcastle’s Dundrum Road and became a registered charity.

More recently, in 2020, MYMY opened its Castlewellan charity shop.

Offering a safe space for individuals to work through issues that are affecting their everyday lives – such as anxiety, bereavement, stress, relationship breakdown, debt, low mood and trauma – the charity provides one-to-one counselling, health and wellbeing programmes and support groups for anyone aged 16 or over.

From the outset, one of the organisation’s goals has been to wholly improve mental health and wellbeing in this community, and to provide supportive services and the opportunity to build positive mental health and wellbeing.

The plans for 2025 are, the charity adds, another example of this and, by being able to expand on what is already offered, help even more people across the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area.

MYMY can be contacted by filling out an enquiry form, which can be accessed via its website or by calling (028) 4372 7549.

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