Inspire is an all-island charity and social enterprise and our aim is wellbeing for all. We work together with people living with mental ill health, intellectual disability, autism and addictions to ensure they live with dignity and realise their full potential.
We campaign to create a society free from stigma and discrimination with a culture of compassion that focuses on people and their abilities.
We are a values based organisation and our values are at the heart of all we do
- We are Inclusive: we put the people who use our services first
- We are Passionate: we believe in what we do
- We are Determined: we find a way
- We are Kind: we care about each other
- We are Honest: we act with integrity
- We are Innovative: we nurture new ideas
Therapeutic and wellbeing services
Our therapeutic and wellbeing services provide a range of wellbeing support services, training and interventions which help organisations, employees and students to thrive.
Our therapeutic and wellbeing services include counselling, trauma informed therapeutic support, training, information, digital wellbeing services, and specialist support projects, coaching and mentoring.
Mental health and addiction care and support services
Our mental health and addiction services focus on inclusion by providing recovery-based support in communities.
Our mental health and addiction services include day support, supported housing, floating support & advocacy, counselling, social support, training, mutual aid partnerships and over 50’s specific support.
Intellectual disability and autism care and support services
Our intellectual disability and autism services are built around the people we support and empower people to live independently as part of their community.
Our intellectual disability and autism services include residential services, day support services, outreach services, supported living, floating support, respite and family support services.
Insight, Engagement and Innovation
Our Insight, Engagement and Innovation team aims to amplify the voices of the people who use our services to inform and shape wider society through campaigning, research and the development of new services.
Our insight, engagement and innovation services include engaging with the people who use our services and their families and carers, volunteering, fundraising and community development, campaigning and communication, research, service development and innovation.
Inspire was established in Belfast in 1959 by Lady Margaret Wakehurst.
60 years of expertise in mental health and wellbeing
Lady Wakehurst became a campaigner for mental health reform because of her experience of supporting her son through his mental ill health. Shocked by the conditions in hospitals and the lack of support for people outside formal psychiatric settings, she was determined to improve the care available and change society’s attitudes to mental ill health. The Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health (NIAMH) was the first of its kind and was set up by Lady Wakehurst despite strong opposition from her peers. These early founding principles of determination, care, support and inclusion are still at the heart of our work six decades later.
Growing to embrace an all-island remit
The innovative movement started by NIAMH and our first Beacon day centre in Belfast spread across the region and the strength and impact of our work began to grow. Our services expanded to provide residential, therapeutic and community based support for people living with mental ill health, supporting recovery and empowering people to play a full role in society around them. Our expertise in supported independent living and inclusive community support, lead us to develop services for people with intellectual disabilities and autism. In 2016, we opened our first service in Ireland and our name changed to Inspire to reflect our new areas of work and our all-island remit.
A social enterprise supporting thousands across the island of Ireland
Our passion for our work and belief in what we do drove us to develop therapeutic and wellbeing services for people in workplaces, schools, colleges and universities. The establishment of our innovative social enterprise Carecall (now Therapeutic and Wellbeing Services) meant that we reached the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland, from the day they start higher education to the day they retire. This area of our work confirmed our unique expertise in the field of trauma-informed practice, providing support for people experiencing high levels of trauma in their workplaces and communities.
The story of our development is rooted in the strength of kindness and a belief in each person’s inherit uniqueness and ability. This approach shapes how we support people living with substance use issues. In 1979, 20 years after the formation of NIAMH, another group of passionate and committed parents, carers and professionals got together and formed the NI Community Addiction Service. NICAS (later Addiction NI) blazed a trail in terms of reshaping how addiction was viewed and how services were provided to people living with addiction, their families and the wider community. Addiction NI became part of Inspire in 2016, deepening our expertise and shaping our commitment to recovery-focused support.
Over the years, Inspire has grown and developed into one of largest providers of services in Ireland. Our campaigning role has lead us to become a strong and influential organisation.
Shining a light of hope
And yet the values that shape us, our mission and our aim are still closely connected to that first community of people who wanted to improve the life of the people they loved, ensure society treated them fairly and support them to realise their full potential. Lady Wakehurst named our very first service Beacon because she wanted “a name suggesting light.”
Six decades later, we are proud to be part of a social movement shining a light of hope and changing the lives of thousands of people every year. We have lots of work still to do…
Find out more about our charity’s work at inspirewellbeing.org