During his address at the Hope, Healing and Growth event, Adrian Dunbar expressed his pride in being the patron of the Aisling Centre. Attending the event for the first time, Adrian commented that it was a “very powerful day” which there is a definite need for in the local community and beyond.

“I could see that there was a huge need for an event like that, for the whole country it seems because people were coming from everywhere, all over Ireland to it,” he told The Impartial Reporter following the event.

Calling the Aisling Centre an “incredible initiative” and recognising its importance in the community it serves and supports, Adrian shared: “I think it’s really important for us, for people to know that there is a destination, that there is actually a place they can go to where there is a door that is open that they can walk in and it’s not clinical, it’s not like a hospital or a doctor’s surgery or anything like that.

“It’s a very low key entry into a place where you know that you could talk through some of the issues that are troubling you.”

Noting how, particularly in a society that is dealing with a lot of post traumatic stress, a place like the Aisling Centre is “invaluable”,

Adrian added: “There are loads of people out there in Northern Ireland in particular who are dealing with very serious issues arising from the Troubles but also just in general, just life pressures and all the things that go to putting stress and pressure on the ordinary individual.

“So the question is, ‘what do you do with all your issues and how do you deal with it?’ and you know, in terms of mental health that’s tricky because you don’t know where to go and you try to share things with people but to get professional advice and help is really important.”

He continued: “That’s where the Aisling Centre comes in, it’s an open door for people to walk through and receive some professional counselling so that they can be referred further on to deal with their problems so I think it’s a very important resource for the town of Enniskillen and the North West in general.”

When asked if he believes the resources of the Aisling Centre are more vital than ever due to the current state of the provision of mental health services in Northern Ireland, Adrian said: “Obviously the cut backs since the recession particularly within health has affected what government and what local government can do and what their funds are etcetera.

“All sectors of voluntary sectors have become more and more important, we are sadly falling back on the voluntary sector so I think the Aisling Centre really is important at this point.”

A patron for the Aisling Centre for around five years, Adrian noted that the importance of the centre “keeps growing”.

“We’re always going to need the Aisling Centre, far into the future, it’s an important resource and that’s why I’m honoured and delighted to support it,” he told this newspaper.