On Wednesday 5th April, people from across Inspire, along with those from the health and social care and social enterprise sectors, gathered at Titanic Belfast for the launch of the organisation’s exciting new three-year strategy, Inspire 20SIX.

Also, in wrapping up half a decade of work with communities, young people and workplaces, this event allowed us to celebrate the Change Your Mind anti-stigma campaign.

This was the first time that Inspire hosted partners since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and, so, everyone welcomed the opportunity to make new connections and greet old friends.

The people who use our services were, as ever, at the centre of it all. Examples of the stunning arts and crafts conjured by our Woodland community wellbeing service in Cookstown were on full display; as was the beautiful handmade quilt produced by the ladies of the Inspire Women project in Fermanagh. Meanwhile, our Omagh drum circle gathered to lend the proceedings a vibrant soundtrack.

Following an opening address from Inspire Chair Aidan Browne, Group Director of Insight, Engagement and Innovation Lisa McElherron presented an overview of how and why Change Your Mind has made such a difference in the last five years.

She outlined a range of projects aimed at tackling mental health-related stigma, detailed the results of various public polls undertaken to gauge popular and political opinion on the topic, and set out the legacy of the campaign, a legacy that includes the presence of anti-stigma outcomes in the Department of Health’s Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031.

Before breaking for lunch, attendees were encouraged to use conversation starters on each table to read about and discuss the findings of our recent YouGov survey, which highlighted a number of interesting statistics around public attitudes to mental ill health:

  • 85% of people believe that anyone can experience mental ill health
  • 63% of people want to learn more about serious mental illnesses
  • 60% of people think mental health is negatively portrayed in the media
  • 63% of people think that having a mental health service in their neighbourhood would be a positive thing
  • 72% of people think that there is a great deal/fair amount of shame associated with mental health in Northern Ireland
  • 56% of people think that there is less stigma in society than five years ago
  • 73% of people believe we should be more considerate in the way we talk about mental health
  • 74% of people think government is not doing enough around mental health

We created this short video highlighting some of the things we achieved since 2018. We sang and stitched, laughed and kicked. We drummed, championed and started conversations. Please enjoy.

Later, CEO Kerry Anthony MBE, introduced Inspire 20SIX and, in particular, the six key themes underpinning the strategy: Quality, Team, Culture, Voice, Sustainability and Innovation.

The plan that we have here today,” she said, “is, I believe, one that can be owned by all. It will create a line of sight for everyone in Inspire, helping them to see and understand how we all work together and play a part in its delivery.”

Kerry promised that Inspire would build on it moving forward, “through our values and on our strengths, as one organisation, with one voice, in order to deliver on our one mission: wellbeing for all, across the island of Ireland.”

This new strategy, she said, elevates Inspire’s commitment to quality as clear and overriding objective, as well as an immovable requirement:

At Inspire we also want quality to be something that we pursue not only because of regulations. We want to deliver the best quality services we can and define those through our internal framework. This will reflect regulatory standards, of course, but it will also represent what quality services look like, in line with our values.”

In concluding, Kerry pointed out that Inspire has a proud legacy to protect and serve:

Since our inception nearly 65 years ago, Inspire has continued to deliver new and innovative services. Despite the external challenges, we will find ways to do more of this. We will encourage ideas to come through the voices of those who use our services and those who support them.


I hope that our founder, Lady Wakehurst, who set up the first beacon centre nearly 65 years ago as a result of being dismayed at the treatment her son received in hospital, would be proud of how far we’ve come. Inspire is organisation that lives its values, wants to build a culture of servant leadership, embraces and responds to change and, most of all, has not lost sight of the need to put individuals need at the front and centre of all that it does.”


Check out a collection of images from the day in the gallery below.

You can read Inspire’s new three-year plan, 20SIX, here.