Ashes To Gold in Coleraine, Northern Ireland has been providing mental health support in the local area since 2013. This year we are spreading our wings with a new adventure. Read on ... this is exciting stuff.
Who are we?
Ashes To Gold provides services that keep people well and supports those in need at critical points. We have a free counselling service in the area (Oasis) and a nature and garden therapy project (GROW) which supports vulnerable adults with learning disabilities and brain injuries.
A local business has recently donated Moorbrook Fishery to the charity. With the NHS recognising fishing as therapeutic treatment for anxiety and depression we have the perfect venue to really make a difference to people’s lives.
The fishery has 6 lakes for carp fishing and there are rumours there may be a trout or two on the way. We have also inherited the company of some local residents - Gilbert the Donkey and Sparky the Swan!!
We want to use the fishery to its full potential and make Moorbrook somewhere the people in our community can be proud of. The scenery is breath-taking, and the peaceful surroundings can no doubt bring a sense of calm to anyone who visits.
The plan is to deliver fishing activities for beginners and for those with angling experience, simply provide a safe place to fish alone. But that’s not all. That’s just the start. We have an opportunity to expand our counselling service, provide respite and awareness workshops at Moorbrook for those in need.
Who can we help?
We work with so many groups already through our charity work including adults with mental health challenges, adults with learning disabilities and brain injuries, young men battling isolation after lockdown and people with mobility issues. Each of the groups we support are really excited about getting out to Moorbrook and continuing their recovery journey there. The heart of our work is supporting those in need and Moorbrook opens doors for us to connect with more people ... little people !!
Responding to the pandemic
Ashes To Gold are proud to say we supported our local community during the lockdowns by delivering freshly cooked ready meals to those in need in the area. We also continued our counselling service for our clients through telephone calls and zoom chats. Our services and projects are up and running as normal again and our new project at Moorbrook is blossoming at just the right time. This project will be available for everyone in our community , with no-one turned away. We will battle isolation, loneliness , mental health challenges and any other support we can offer in safe and secure surroundings.
What can we do ?
In a world where we are surrounded by screens, filters and tiktoks we want to see kids in the great outdoors. Fresh air, fishing, making friends and promoting positive mental health is our vision for the kids at Moorbrook.
We will teach them how to fish, water safety and environmental issues such as water pollution but we can teach them so much more. With 50% of mental health illnesses developed by the age of 14 we believe education and awareness can change lives.
We want to teach these kids about what can put their mental health at risk, coping skills, asking for help, internet safety etc. On top of all of this we are teaching another very important lesson. We will show these kids the benefits of being outdoors, logging off, putting the phone down and taking a break from the chaos of modern life.
Moorbrook is based in the coastal village of Castlerock on the outskirts of Coleraine, a neutral venue in Northern Ireland where kids from all communities can visit and feel welcome, safe, and content.
What will your donation do ?
We would like to use the funds raised to build an outdoor classroom and information boards at one of the lakes. This lake will be dedicated to and owned by the children of Northern Ireland. We are already researching the wants and needs of young people for the project through a development group where their voices become part of the plan. Every penny you donate will start making these dreams a reality. The classroom will give the kids a place to get together, eat together, chat together and learn together and most importantly .... have fun together. As soon as we secure the funding for the classroom, we have a qualified carpenter ready to build with the help of our Re-Build group (our support group for young men battling isolation).
Ashes To Gold are fully committed to the project at Moorbrook and have already secured £10,000 from The National Lottery to transform the access areas and pathways. This work will mean the fishery is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. There is also disabled car parking and toilet facilities available making the service fully inclusive. We are so very proud of how far we come in a few months but the future of Moorbrook is magical and a first for Northern Ireland.
We can only hope you hear the love and heart behind our words when you read this, and you too believe in the magic of Moorbrook.
Thank you for your time ❤