Becoming mindwise

For many years the Northern Ireland region of NSF/Rethink had operated in a unique manner compared to the other regions of the organisation due to the formation of the local Governance Committee and also distinctive service commissioning arrangements unique to Northern Ireland.

In 2008, the NI Governance Committee sought consent from Rethink’s Board of Trustees to carry out a feasibility study on the possibility and impact of the Northern Ireland region de-merging from the rest of the organisation to become an independent charity. The Board gave their consent for this work to be carried out.

A possible move to independent status for Northern Ireland had been prompted by some major developments taking place in the local environment which would have significant and long term effects on local mental health service delivery. These developments included the formation of the Northern Ireland Assembly (which gave the opportunity for more localised lobbying and campaigning) and the The Bamford Review of Mental Health & Learning Disability which make significant and long-lasting recommendations on how mental health services should change and develop.

Throughout the summer of 2008, all local stakeholders were consulted to gauge their desires in relation to a possible de-merger, this included; staff, volunteers, service users, carers, service commissioners and members. This consultation showed an overwhelming support for such a move. Opinion also showed that a de-merger would help benefit the organisation’s profile locally and in turn would help to promote awareness of mental illness.
A paper was present to the Rethink Board of Trustees in October 2008 and their was a majority vote in favour of Northern Ireland de-merging with the date of 1st April 2009 set for the transition.

The decision was officially announced in Northern Ireland at the Annual Members Meeting held at the King’s Hall Conference Centre on 28th November 2009. At that event a consultation process was also launched in relation to what the identity of the new charity should be.

Many new potential name suggestions came forward from within the organisation, the project team leading re-branding put the suggestions out to a vote and MindWise came back as by far the preferred option chosen by people within our services who all felt this name best described what our charity was all about. The name was suggested by a staff member and our new slogan, ‘A New Vision for Mental Health’ was suggested by someone who accesses our services.


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