The Flax Trust

Ardoyne/Shankill Healthy Living Centre

The Ardoyne Community Healthcare Centre was established in 1990 as a community response to the lack of access to Health Services within Ardoyne.

With the support of Flax Trust and the local community the Centre is the home of various Health provisions such as a G.P. surgerywith over 3,000 patients. There are two GPs, a Practice Manager and Practice Nurse. Local people are employed as receptionists. The Centre provides Medical services and employment to the local community. Some of the services offered are anti and post Natal Clinics, Asthma Clinic, Immunisation Clinic and general healthcare.


Project Coordinator – Una Mc Roberts

Community Health Development Worker – Donna Hawkins

Young People’s Project (YEHA)

Youth Education Health Advice Coordinator – Sean Devlin

The Ardoyne/Shankill Health Partnership (Healthy living Centre) is a community led Health Improvement Plan that works with Men, Women, Older People, Young People and Children. Our aim is to work in partnership to address Health and Social Well-Being inequalities. We work across all departments and sectors to deliver Health Promotion programmes to those who live in disadvantage areas of North Belfast. Those who have poor health and suffer from mental ill health along with low academic qualifications poor coping mechanisms and low self-esteem, people are invited to participate in programmes which offer healthier lifestyle choices and the impact of these programmes has shown a measurable and significant improvement in the health of the people in Ardoyne and Shankill going on to reduce the health gap between more affluent areas of Belfast.

To allow for expansion and growth and stronger cross community links, we have moved to the new Houben Centre which is situated on one of the worst Interface areas in the North of Ireland. Since moving in January we now see more people from Woodvale and Shankill areas using our services on a cross community basis.  This gives us strength to lobby government for more much needed funding to provide educational health programmes and services that are not being provided within the two communities

 Ardoyne/Shankill Healthy Living Centre

 Ardoyne/Shankill Healthy Living Centre

 Ardoyne/Shankill Healthy Living Centre

 Ardoyne/Shankill Healthy Living Centre

Ardoyne/Shankill Health Partnership (Healthy Living Project) is also housed in the Centre. With the help of the Flax Trust we were awarded Big Lottery Funding formerly the New Opportunities Fund, under the Healthy Living Centre Programme for 5 years. This funding enabled the Partnership to address inequalities in health and be the local flagship for health in the community. The Centre reaches out to people who have until now been excluded from opportunities for better health and is a powerful catalyst for change.

Projects involve local communities and reflect local priorities for health and wellbeing. They seek to address the wider determinants of health and health inequalities, such as social exclusion, lack of access to services and socio-economic deprivation. With over 15 areas of activity to take part in, e.g. personal development courses, health information fairs and classes, outdoor activities and creative arts, crafts and drama together with an interesting range of complementary and alternative therapies such as Reflexology, Hot Stone Therapy, Indian Head Massage, Reiki, and Aromatherapy … All our Therapists and Programme Facilitators are selected from an extensive network of professionally qualified and insured people, usually local people, some of whom have been trained through the Project. We encourage people to get involved, get healthy and enable them to make healthier lifestyle choices, allowing them to live longer healthier and happier lives free from ill health.

Darren Gowdy, Strategic Health Development Worker

Una McRoberts, Project Coordinator

The Youth Education Help & Advice (Y.E.H.A.) Project is another section of the Healthy Living Programme. It was established in April 2007 with the aim of tackling health inequalities that exist within the Youth population of Ardoyne and Shankill area. They provide a range of high quality programmes covering all areas of health, including mental, physical, sexual and emotional health. Their current work engages with young people in many different settings: Primary and Secondary schools, Youth clubs and outreach work meeting young people at their level.

The programmes also address areas such as suicide, positive mental health, self esteem, self confidence, drug and alcohol awareness, communication, managing anger and aggression and team building. Most of the courses are O.C.N. accredited to level 1, 2 and 3 and sometimes the only certificate the young people ever receive. They have 2 Drop-in Clinics provided by highly qualified professionals in the fields of counselling and advice. These Clinics can cover anything from relationships, sexual health, before and after abortion, miscarriage and still born babies, teenage pregnancies and unexpected pregnancies. These services are delivered by LIFE Northern Ireland and the HYPE team. The Y.E.H.A. also offer help and advice to parent’s and school teachers, family and friends. The Project is also funded through the Big Lottery Fund under the Change UR Future Programme.

The Centre also houses a Day Centre for Elderly providing activities which encourage the elderly to become involved in community life. It helps prevent social isolation leading to depression and mental ill health. The Day Care Centre offers a programme of healthy activities with a wide range of sessions on physical activity such as dancing, boccia, armchair aerobics all supporting better mobility and positive mental health. Participants also play bingo, have singalongs, go on day trips and annual holidays. Arts/crafts are very popular with the elderly making their own Christmas and Easter cards and Easter bonnets. The cook provides a wholesome dinner for those who live alone and would not cook for themselves. Meals on wheels are delivered to disabled people living in Ardoyne and Shankill areas on a daily basis. The Day Care Centre also employs local people and provides opportunities for training and work placements for young people.