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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Northern Trust holds successful Rural Health and Wellbeing conference in Ballymena

Conference speakers, Sharon Adams, Dr Suzanne Johnston, Dr Rebecca Orr, Martin Seager and Christina Faulkner along with Yvonne Carson, Northern Trust Rural Health and Wellbeing Manager, and Hugh Nelson, Northern Trust Head of Community Wellbeing.

Conference speakers, Sharon Adams, Dr Suzanne Johnston, Dr Rebecca Orr, Martin Seager and Christina Faulkner along with Yvonne Carson, Northern Trust Rural Health and Wellbeing Manager, and Hugh Nelson, Northern Trust Head of Community Wellbeing.


The Northern Health and Social Care Trust recently held its Spotlight on Rural: Challenges and Approaches to Rural Health and Wellbeing conference in Ballymena.


With over 130 delegates from the voluntary, community and statutory sectors in attendance, the event opened with an address from Health Minister Robin Swann who also launched the Trust’s new rural video and Rural Matters framework.



Alongside a range of well-known and distinguished speakers with a keen interest in rural issues, the audience were entertained by the ‘Pick Me Up’ Chorus whose members, under the leadership of Musical Director, Anne McCambridge, come from the rural part of North East Antrim including Glenarm, Carnlough, Broughshane and Ballygally.


Ita McErlain and Clare McKay from Northern Area Community Network pictured at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s Spotlight on Rural: Challenges and Approaches to Rural Health and Wellbeing conference.

Ita McErlain and Clare McKay from Northern Area Community Network pictured at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s Spotlight on Rural: Challenges and Approaches to Rural Health and Wellbeing conference.


Yvonne Carson, the Northern Trust’s Rural Health and Wellbeing Manager, said:


“Our Rural Conference highlighted key rural issues and clearly illustrated how we need to think differently about rural areas and use a different approach to help address the challenges.


“Through our Rural Framework, and especially our Rural Video, we wanted to acknowledge, celebrate and share some of the great work which goes on in rural areas, often unrecognised, which highlights the expertise, commitment and dedication of our staff and partners.”



Hugh Nelson, Head of Community Wellbeing at the Northern Trust and Yvonne Carson, Rural Health and Wellbeing Manager, pictured with Health Minister Robin Swann and Northern Trust Chair, Anne O’Reilly.

Hugh Nelson, Head of Community Wellbeing at the Northern Trust and Yvonne Carson, Rural Health and Wellbeing Manager, pictured with Health Minister Robin Swann and Northern Trust Chair, Anne O’Reilly.


The Northern Trust is the largest geographical Trust in Northern Ireland spanning over 1733 miles and serving a population of just under 480,000 with nearly 204,000 people live in rural areas including a significant number of staff.


Whilst we know there are many benefits to living rurally including lots of green spaces and wonderful views, there is also a range of challenges. This includes pockets of poverty, geographical isolation, distance to travel to services, the time needed to deliver health and social care services and often, poor transport links.



The Conference aimed to raise awareness of key issues affecting health and wellbeing in rural areas, explore approaches to address rural challenges and showcase practical initiatives making a positive difference to the lives of people living rurally.


Kevin Doherty, Rural Support CEO and Elaine Conlon, Social Farming Services Coordinator, with Health Minister Robin Swann.

Kevin Doherty, Rural Support CEO and Elaine Conlon, Social Farming Services Coordinator, with Health Minister Robin Swann.

Health Minister Robin Swann pictured with Alison Craig, Northern Trust Palliative Care Service Improvement Lead and Daphne Law, Palliative Care Service Improvement Team Support Worker.

Health Minister Robin Swann pictured with Alison Craig, Northern Trust Palliative Care Service Improvement Lead and Daphne Law, Palliative Care Service Improvement Team Support Worker.



Health Minister Robin Swann addresses delegates at the Northern Trust’s recent Spotlight on Rural: Challenges and Approaches to Rural Health and Wellbeing conference.

Health Minister Robin Swann addresses delegates at the Northern Trust’s recent Spotlight on Rural: Challenges and Approaches to Rural Health and Wellbeing conference.

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