IKEA and AWARE collaborate to help create better wellbeing at home

IKEA Belfast has announced its partnership with local mental health charity, AWARE in an effort to educate customers, co-workers and the wider public that improvements to mental health can start at home.

As well as raising awareness of how we can look after our wellbeing at home, the store will aim to raise £20,000 which will enable the charity to deliver approx. 90 Mood Matters for Young People programmes in schools throughout Northern Ireland.

The Mood Matters Programme is aimed at 14-18 year olds and gives them the knowledge and skills to maintain good mental health as well as teaching them how to build resilience to better deal with problems and challenges. The programme has been delivered to 70,000 young people since its inception in 2000.

AWARE Ambassador and Cool FM presenter Paulo Ross visited IKEA Belfast to test out some of the suggested wellbeing activities at home, including cooking, eating together and making small changes around the house. Paulo was joined by local teenager, Erin McGreevy and Kathy Jess from IKEA Belfast to launch the partnership.

Christie Gregg, Store Manager at IKEA Belfast commented; “We were hugely impressed with all the applications that came in from respected local charities, but AWARE seemed to be one that resonated with our co-workers the most. Choosing the charity was very much a decision of the entire team in store.

“Wellbeing at home is extremely important; a healthy mind set in the home will help family members have a healthy mind set outside of the home, and our whole team felt that this would be a great message to help AWARE communicate.

“The stigma surrounding mental health is slowly fading away, and more and more people are looking for solutions to look after their mental health and general wellbeing. Working with AWARE, we hope to further enable solutions and create more opportunities for the organisation to deliver the Mood Matters School Programme throughout the country.”

Siobhan Doherty, Chief Executive from AWARE added; “Practical and simple activities can make positive differences to our lives, and we believe our partnership with IKEA Belfast will help us communicate this message further. Together with IKEA home experts in store, we can physically show activities that can help nurture our emotional wellbeing.

“We are looking forward to developing a series of fundraising and awareness raising activities and programmes for IKEA shoppers and co-workers throughout the year.”

Paulo Ross, Cool FM DJ and AWARE Ambassador said, “AWARE is a charity very close to my heart and I am delighted that IKEA has chosen AWARE as its charity partner. AWARE provides a vital service across Northern Ireland to people with depression and bipolar disorder. It also delivers mental health programmes to children in post-primary schools teaching them about mental health and helping them to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental illness.”

Using the ‘Take5 for emotional wellbeing’ concept, researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation, AWARE has collaborated with IKEA Belfast to share activities and tips to help facilitate positive wellbeing at home:

  • Connect: When cooking – join parents or invite the kids into the kitchen to help prepare the meal. This is a vital time to catch up and share some memories. Hosting dinner parties with friends will also help you reconnect when life may have taken over from time to time.
  • Be Active: Prepping the garden for the changing seasons, taking down summer lights, changing duvets and putting up some new picture frames are all household activities that can help us feel better and move around at home.
  • Take Notice: Stand back and admire your gardening. Savour the moment. Eat lunch or talk to friends, be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling.
  • Keep Learning: Create a snug for reading, writing, or just thinking. Turn a ‘box room’ into an office, creating a place to learn that language you always wanted to speak.
  • Give: Treat parents to a family dinner party, cook a meal and make memories around the dining table together, create some homemade crafts or art as a gift, or just give your time for homework, reading or baking together.

For more information about AWARE, visit www.aware-ni.org, and for more information about IKEA Belfast, visit www.ikea.co.uk/belfast.