Closure fears for Ballyclare MindWise centre

The MindWise centre in Ballyclare. INNT 02-813CON
The MindWise centre in Ballyclare. INNT 02-813CON

There is growing concern over the future of a centre which assists people with mental health conditions in the Ballyclare area.

The MindWise centre on the Rashee Road in the town offers help and support for people suffering from mental health illnesses.

The centre, which is open Monday to Thursday each week, offers a number of classes including an art class, as well as providing a social outlet and an ear to listen to the issues affecting the lives of those who attend the centre. Around 15 people benefit from these services every day.

Gerry Larkham has been volunteering at the centre for two years. He said that the announcement has come as a shock.

“We were called to a meeting on Wednesday (January 6) and were told that the centre may be closing in May or June of this year. MindWise in Ballyclare provides therapeutic classes and activities for people who have mental health conditions. If the centre was to close, some of these people will lose these services,” Gerry said.

Speaking after a meeting with representatives from MindWise on Tuesday, January 12, Cllr David Arthurs said: “I met with members today and they have voiced their concerns about the possible closure. I will now be writing to both Edward Gorringe, CEO of MindWise, and Simon Hamilton MLA, Minister for Health, to get clear information regarding the possible closure of the Ballyclare centre. I have given the members a promise to fight to keep the centre open. I will personally go to MindWise headquarters if I do not get a response from them by January 18.”