FOLLOW US FacebookTwitterFile:Instagram icon.png - Wikimedia CommonsLinkedin - Free social media icons

Ashes to Gold with Henderson’s Pharmacy, Coleraine

A journey of self-discovery through nature 

Ashes to Gold is a mental health support Organisation and works within the local community across the Causeway Coast and Glens district.  Part of their work incorporates GROW which is a garden and natural therapy site delivering programmes and activities to local groups.  These groups include and engage people with a brain injury or with a learning disability.  In addition, they have a new fishing project at Moorbrook Fishery, Castlerock. 

They have recently completed a Level One Building the Community Pharmacy Partnership Programme with a Local Pharmacist, Evan Reid, supporting a small group of young men who suffer from poor mental health and are at risk of harm/addiction or of offending.  The group aimed to provide practical support (including food) to make a long-term connection between each other, Evan and the wider community.  This Level One funding in the amount of £2,500 was ideal to explore issues and investigate the potential for extending the Project into a Level Two for more in depth work and engagement going forward. 

Although not statistically deprived, ranking at 337th on the deprivation index, like most large towns Coleraine has dramatic differences in deprivation.  The Pandemic has deepened poverty, loneliness and isolation for those already marginalised and the atmosphere of fear and dread has a detrimental effect, especially on those alienated from their families, because of their behaviours.  A particular topic the group was keen to explore was gambling and the impact it had on their lives and their mental health.    

Evan, the pharmacist, shared the tremendous learning curve it has been for him as a professional to learn aspects of medication use beyond its original purpose.  The informal nature of the sessions and the fishing, beach walking and overnight stay at Corrymeela all meant that it did not seem like work but rather craic and sharing knowledge and information with friends.  The photographs show the lovely surroundings at Corrymeela, and the men had a great time planting up shrubs for future border planting later in the season and touching around the edges of marginalization, one of the many topics they unpicked and explored while they were at it! 

Following on from the project, Evan still is in contact with the group and he believes this relationship empowers the participants and gives them greater confidence to access healthcare.   

Evan Reid Pharmacist quote “The whole project was a joy to be involved in and the connections made with such a great group of young men, whose paths I might not otherwise have crossed was and is an incredible honour.” 

Peter – Project Manager quote ‘’The funding received from CDHN was a true blessing to Ashes To Gold. This gave us the chance to connect with young men in our community who are often hard to reach. It also gave us the freedom to deliver the programme in a way that suited the men. I can honestly say this programme was life-changing for some of the participants and the connection they made with Evan Reid was simply heart-warming. Thank you to CDHN for this wonderful opportunity.’’