THE Director of Brooke House, Joan Clements, who has been recognised in The Queen's New Year's Honours list with a BEM, is quick to modestly suggest it’s as much for those who’ve helped her establish the veterans' support facilities in Fermanagh as it is for her long work and service with social services, including with victims and survivors.

Joan, who is from Beragh, Co. Tyrone, is to receive the award for her services to Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.

After graduating in 1980, Joan spent 25years working within the health service before her retirement and move to the Community Relations Council, where she established a Befriending Service.

Just over two years ago, she anchored and masterminded the setting up of Brooke House at the Colebrooke Estate.

Brooke House provides a range of bespoke care services to support and improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of retired police officers, military veterans and their families, who have been physically injured, psychologically impacted or bereaved as a result of service.

Talking about her role, Joan told this newspaper: "I'm the Director with a staff team of eight; health and wellbeing staff and admin staff.

"We do health and wellbeing for the military and police, providing counselling, complimentary therapies, physiotherapy, psychotherapy and a ten-week garden programme.

"We've also a structured residential programme for families that we bring in for intense treatment, for the whole family, but that has been cut back due to Covid-19.

"We have more than 320 [people] on our books at the moment. We provide for [people] across Northern Ireland for some of our services, and Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh then for the police.

"Our main emphasis is going to be on health and wellbeing," she added.

When asked what receiving the BEM means to her, Joan said: “I’m so delighted and honoured."

She continued: “But I see it as very much for the staff that worked with me to set this place up [Brooke House].

"It's not just about me, but on a personal level, I suppose it's like a dream come true.”