Flourish Sligo is part of a national pilot project that aims to provide a suite of crisis resolution services for those experiencing mental health crisis.

The aim of any pilot project is to try new things and learn from them. Recent discussions indicate a need to take a pause in developments associated with the café, as there is further learning to be done before we can more safely launch the venture and maximise its chances of success.

Our HSE partners have advised that while the project is in review that all fundraising be paused.  Please be assured that all funds lodged in our accounts to date are being safely and transparently managed, and that the HSE team are working very hard to ensure the project comes to a safe and successful fruition.  The Charity is not working in tandem with Flourish NW CLG.

We will keep you updated.

The Havin’ a Laugh Team


Flourish is an evidence, and research-based, community mental health initiative being piloted and developed in Sligo-Leitrim, in collaboration with the HSE and the mental health charity Havin’ a Laugh. Once established and evaluated, this model will be rolled out to other communities in Ireland.

The Flourish project aims to create a bridge between voluntary community organisations, such as ourselves and statutory services such as the HSE Primary Care and Mental Health/Health and Wellbeing supports. Three years of planning and negotiations have made it possible that there will now be a place to go where anyone is welcome to talk with trained volunteers, join an event/activity, visit the gardens or café, in a safe, friendly, warm and welcoming environment.

“Havin’ a Laugh was established in 2015 in response to personal tragedy and a vision of providing supports to people experiencing issues with their mental health. The vision for Havin’ a Laugh is ‘a welcoming front door for everyone’, a door within the community, open to everyone to find non clinical supports to help with our mental health and wellbeing. From just a friendly listening ear over a cup of tea, to helping access to other supports.”

And now, thanks to Flourish, the ‘welcoming front door’ that we have long been waiting for is here.

Research highlights that 1 in every 4 members of the population will at some stage experience a negative mental health issue. With a population of circa 90,000 in Sligo-Leitrim alone,  22,500 people will, or could, experience mental health difficulties. In reality, the figure is much higher, given the fact that we hide poor mental health. In bygone days, a village took care of the village as a community. Flourish aims to harness the power of the community and provide the facilities, people, skills, and activities to allow the community to support its members’ mental health needs.

Flourish has been designed to become a self-sustaining social enterprise, but for now, we need your help to get the café, building and gardens open to the public. We are fundraising to get the premises fit for purpose and to sustain us through our first year in operation. Your support will help us lay solid foundations to continue developing this positive mental health and wellbeing community initiative long into the future.

Any contribution you make will be greatly appreciated, and we invite you to stop by and say hello as soon as you can.

We Asked, You Answered

Over the last three years, there have been consultations with the community of Sligo-Leitrim on the subject of mental health. What was asked for was a welcoming, friendly, open, and safe place that provided a listening ear, immediate and ongoing trained support, around-the-clock availability, evidence-based activities to improve wellbeing, and the facilities to allow more community involvement.

Flourish, is that place.  Based in the former Garden Centre in Ballytivnan, Sligo, Flourish will be open to all, providing a welcoming space, at any time, to have a cuppa, meet with friends, talk with trained volunteers, join in activities and events, visit (or get involved in) the organic gardens, the café and become informed about all other community resources and supports. Intervention, prevention, and maintenance underpin the vision of Flourish. This is what was asked for, this is what Flourish can deliver.

The Full Scope of the Project

What is Flourish – A New Mental Health Centre for Sligo.
By community, For community.

Flourish is a collaborative Mental Health project undertaken by Havin’ a Laugh and supported by the HSE. It’s a project not previously thought possible. It is focused on delivering support in all areas of a person’s life. Offering proven tools that help prevent poor mental ill-health in the first place, and providing practical and nurturing support to anyone working through recovery to a place of positive mental health and wellbeing. Bringing together all the elements required for sustained positive mental health.

  • A pilot for Sligo, building an evidence base for positive mental health wellbeing for the community and by the community.
  • It’s an open access building with a welcoming front door.
  • There is a large garden centre, with polytunnels and open growing spaces.
  • A café open to the public with healthy food and produce from the gardens.
  • An additional kitchen/dining area where we will run supper clubs for those who feel isolated from their community.
  • There are communal areas, and safe spaces for private conversation.
  • Community integration initiatives.
  • Courses that support positive mental health and wellbeing.
  • Training for personal development and career progression.
  • Friendly and knowledgeable trained volunteers will be present on the premises.
  • The centre and its services will be accessible around the clock.

Primarily Flourish is community-focused, serving ALL community members. Everyone is welcome.

  • We believe in a Whole of Life concept: Access to health, educational opportunities, vocational training schemes, work, volunteering, social networks, sport and leisure, art and culture.
  • Using a strength based approach, focusing on maintaining positive mental health and resilience through education and maintenance.


What is Havin’ a Laugh’s role?

Havin’ a Laugh is a Sligo based, registered charitable organisation that provides life-enhancing activities to people in mental health recovery.

  • The HSE have agreed use of the premises and gardens.
  • Havin’ a Laugh is undertaking the Flourish Project fundraising until it gets off the ground and finds its own feet.
  • Havin’ a Laugh will have a home in Flourish and contribute its service to the activities of Flourish.
  • Flourish will be in time fully self-sufficient in terms of its funding and resources needs.

However, seed funding is required until Flourish is established and running self-sufficiently through its social enterprises. 

Total seed funding required to complete Year 1: €160,000

The Breakdown:

Your donations will be spent as outlined below. Bear in mind, given the level of facilities, activities and personal support embedded in our service offering, coupled with the quality and size of the premises, this is a very efficient structure. One would struggle to set up, and run for a year, a coffee shop on a similar budget.

Operating costs for year one:

We have worked very hard to design a concept that is not overly burdened with high recurring overheads. That does not mean we will run a cheap operation. Far from it. We have developed smart ways to share costs with our partners, together with income generating links to our various activities and use of technology. In this way, we plan to not need funding from you, the public, from year 2 onwards. 

  • Insurance €2,000
  • Heating €6,000
  • Electricity €6,000
  • Employment of one operations and development manager for one year. €35,000 (This will be the only direct employed person for year one).
  • Sundry operating costs €15,000

Total: €64,000

Set-Up (once off) Costs:

The set up costs for this unique facility are necessary. We have received much assistance in this regard already from the HSE, but the remaining costs itemised below fall to us. It is crucial that we create an atmosphere within the building and gardens so that an individual will feel safe, calm, reassured and confident that they have come to the right place, and the right people, for support.  

  • Volunteer mental health training costs €20,000 (100 volunteers at €200 each).
  • Legal, data collection, governance and finance structure set up costs. €20,000
  • Supper club/catering kitchen Furniture and equipment €15,000
  • Garden equipment €6,000
  • Interior design, furniture and fittings €15,000
  • Café equipment and stock €20,000

Total: €96,000

Overall Total: €160,000

We aim to be there to support individuals to bring their life to a place of balance and wellbeing. And we will continue to be there to encourage, assist and facilitate people to remain in that place through all their future endeavors. 

If you would like to keep in touch with our progress please join our Facebook page or our webpage.