We want to ensure that Lighthouse is a sustainable organisation however, this is dependent upon the allocation of funding from the Public Health Agency, the Department, the success of bids and donations from the private sector and the generosity of the general public.
Meet the Team
I joined Lighthouse in 2021 as Executive Director. The role involves working closely with our Board of Directors, steering our organisational strategy, providing leadership and resource management and being an advocate for our organisation.
I previously worked in IT for 20 years before moving to work for Extern in 1999. I have since worked for Southern Health Board, the NI Youth Forum, Autism NI and Cruse. I was Director of Cruse in Northern Ireland for six years (2015-2021). I trained to become a Bereavement Volunteer with Cruse in 2013 and have met with bereaved clients ever since.
I am currently Chair of the NI Independent Medical Examiner (IME) Sub-Group (2018 – present) which was a key recommendation of the O’Hara report into the Hyponatraemia deaths. Additionally, I sit on the Northern Ireland Bereavement Network and am currently working alongside the Patient Client Council to develop a bereavement charter for NI.
It is a privilege to work for Lighthouse. The work environment is challenging, energising, collaborative and positive and I feel very humbled to be part of it.
Within my current role as Operations Manager, I oversee the management of all organisational operations, including staff, day to day activities and services, contract management, and organisational finances and funding. In order to expand on my qualifications and experience within business and finance, I have undertaken a range of additional courses including qualifications in Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care, Working with Families and Young People and, in 2014, I achieved a First Class Honours Bachelor of Science degree, in Health and Social Care. This has allowed me a much greater understanding of service provision within the Health and Social Care sector, the importance and the context of the work of Lighthouse, and the services it offers within North Belfast communities and beyond. I have worked for Lighthouse since 2005 and feel extremely privileged to have met and worked with some of the most amazing and selfless people. To feel I can contribute, in even the tiniest way, to helping others find support during their darkest moments, is extremely humbling.
Stuart Kirk (ATSAC, MBACP)
Gary Symington, BSc (Hons) DipHE
I commenced employment as a youth worker with Lighthouse in October 2011.
Thanks to continued funding from Comic Relief I have started a new role within the charity as the Mentor Training Coordinator for the Endeavour Project. I will be working closely with 4 North Belfast schools to deliver a male specific mentor training programme to senior pupils who will support the emotional wellbeing of their peers and younger pupils. The focus for this work is mental health and sport, so outdoor adventure will be an integral part of the work, as well as 4-week support programmes for parents.
Previous to my employment with Lighthouse I was based in West Belfast as manager of the Training for Life Programme in the Upper Springfield.
I began working as a receptionist & administrator at Lighthouse in 2011. I worked closely with the team, volunteers, and service users to ensure all enquiries were responded to effectively and was fortunate enough to participate in Befriending, Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills, and Safetalk training which was extremely beneficial and gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of mental health challenges. In 2020, I began my role as the Bereaved Families Support Worker working closely with individuals who have experienced suicidal loss. it is rewarding to know that the organisation is working collectively to try and minimise that loss as much as we can and, to support those who have experienced such complex bereavements. It is very special when someone gives you permission to be part of their journey and I’ve been so amazed by the strength, courage and desire to help others which radiates from the individuals I have worked with. I’ve witnessed some exceptional growth in the organisation since the beginning of my tenure and hope to be a part of this continued growth for some time.
I started with the charity in 2021 as the Fundraising Coordinator but was promoted to Fundraising Lead in July 2022. I have over 15 years’ experience within the charity sector working as a fundraising manager for both national and local charities. My role is to develop the charity’s fundraising strategy which aims to build upon the success of the current fundraising function, research new and innovative ways to fundraise. It is also my job to work closely with our services teams and support local people, businesses and organisations who are raising vital funds to enable Lighthouse to continue supporting local people with mental health issues.
Counsellors and Therapists
I have spent almost 25 years working as a rapid response paramedic and manager in the Northern Ireland Ambulance and faced many mass casualty incidents during some of the darkest times in our history. In 2008 I changed careers after graduating in counselling and took up my first counselling post with Contact Youth. Not long after being appointed, I was heavily involved in the setting up of the Lifeline service following its introduction later in 2008. As a Team Leader in Lifeline I was responsible for the recruiting, training and day to day management of the Lifeline counsellors. In 2010 I moved to New Life Counselling to take on the post of Team Leader and after spending some time in schools as a counsellor I took on the responsibility of setting up the Postvention Service across the South Eastern Trust Area. This project was introduced to support families and individuals impacted by a loss to suicide. I co-ordinated and managed all aspects of service delivery including staff management, funding and reporting. In 2014 the SHIP (Self Harm Implementation Programme) was awarded to New Life Counselling and I took on the management of this project. Again, I set up the staffing and servicing of this contract and held this post until I left in 2017 to begin self-employment. As a self-employed counsellor and trainer, I have been successful in building up a considerable private practice. As well as seeing private clients I also provide work for a number of agencies and organisations including the Royal College of Nursing, BUPA, Axa, Aviva and the Belfast Trust.
Outside of work I like to travel and I`m at my happiest when I’m in the sunshine. I’m also a keen motorcyclist and enjoy nothing more than getting out on the Harley and cruise along an open road. As a football and rugby fan I take every opportunity to get to see a game and can often be seen at my son’s rugby games shouting words of support and encouragement! I became a new Granda in 2019 and must say I love spending whatever spare time I have left with my grandson and granddaughter
I have worked in Lighthouse since 2005 where I have held a wide variety of roles within the charity.
I currently work as a Trauma counsellor dealing with complex bereavement, suicidal ideation, addictions, mental health and much more. I have had the privilege to work with many inspiring and amazing individuals throughout my career. I feel truly blessed to be a part of an amazing charity that has grown from strength to strength and I feel humbled to be in a position that helps to empower individuals to heal and grow, thus creating positive change in their lives.
I have been working with Lighthouse from 2016 and enjoy being part of the Lighthouse team. My background is in Psychology (BSc) and I am also trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapeutic Counselling. I am a member of NCS (National Counselling Society) and a member of BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy). I like to work in an integrative way with an emphasis on CBT.
Joe-anne Angus, MIACP, BSc (Hons)
Throughout my practice I have been fortunate to experience working as a therapist in a range of sectors and settings such as: private, voluntary, community, post-primary schools, and helplines, with a diverse range of issues. I specialize in working with childhood trauma, suicidal ideation, anxiety, panic attacks, stress, anger management, depression, low self-esteem, relationship issues, grief/loss, work related issues and self-harm. I feel very fortunate to be able to meet people on their journey and support them in finding their way through the difficult times.
I qualified as a counsellor in 2007. In 2010, I qualified as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. In 2017 I received a BSc Hons 1st class in Professional Development in Counselling.
I have been working in Lighthouse since December 2014, first as a volunteer counsellor and currently as a sessional counsellor.
I am a qualified integrative counsellor and a member of the BACP. I have been providing non-judgemental support to clients as part of the lighthouse team from 2014
My role within Lighthouse is primarily as a Counsellor and more recently I’ve joined the Crisis Intervention team. I am a qualified integrative counsellor and a member of the BACP, using Person Centered, CBT and Psychodynamic Approaches to cater for the individual needs of each client.
I offer a confidential, safe and non-judgemental environment to ensure that our working relationship can grow and develop, so that we can work together on the difficulties you face, I firmly believe that a strong therapeutic relationship between client and counsellor can pave the way to successful and rewarding therapeutic change.
Brónagh Uí Dhréain
I am a sessional Art therapist at Lighthouse. I have worked at Lighthouse since 2013. I am member of BAAT and HCPC. I have 8 years experience working with children, young people and adults. I have experience working with trauma, self-ham, suicidal ideation, abuse, family separation, family difficulties, mental health disorders and anxiety.
I have experience working with at risk youth and looked after children. I enjoy helping my clients learn more about themselves using art as way to communicate and restore wellbeing
I have been happily delivering complementary therapies to Lighthouse clients since 2012. I completed my Counselling qualification in 2015 and volunteered with a Bereavement charity for 3 years, before joining the team of counsellors in Lighthouse. I am passionate about all aspects of natural health & wellbeing & to unwind I enjoys tennis, the gym & regular Reflexology.
I am an accredited integrative counsellor with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Throughout my practice I have worked in many counselling roles some of these have been within the local community, helplines and local charities. I specialise in working with a range of difficulties such as Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Panic, Stress and Trauma. The qualifications I have gained to date include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Level 5 and I recently completed the Accredited EMDR Therapy (Parts 1-3) with Queens University. I joined Lighthouse in 2021 and I feel very privileged to be supporting people within the local community.
Anne BrownLighthouse Charity Belfast
I joined Lighthouse in March 2021. I have been working as a counsellor since 2005, I practice integrative therapy and I’m accredited with BACP. I worked in schools for 10 years and have a diploma in Children and Young Peoples Therapy, but I also have a long history of working with adults. I have a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that I incorporate into my integrative work. Over the years I have worked with risk including self-harm, suicidal ideation, eating issues and addiction. I really enjoy working with Lighthouse clients and I’m thankful to be part of a lovely team.
Alyson DixonLighthouse Charity Belfast
I joined Lighthouse at the end of 2021 as a counsellor and I feel blessed to be part of this amazing charity.
I qualified as an integrative counsellor in 2019, which means I can work in a way that can meet the needs of the diverse range of issues a client may present. I am a member of BACP and currently working towards my accreditation. I previously worked for VSS supporting people who have been affected by trauma from the troubles in N.Ireland, something that I am quite passionate about. I also have experience in working with people affected by depression, anxiety, sexual abuse, eating disorders, bereavement, OCD, suicidal ideation, addiction, low self-esteem, relationship issues.
I work in a way that is professional, friendly and down to earth as I know how difficult it can be making that first step to come to your first therapy session. I believe that if we are truly heard, understood and accepted we can free ourselves from the pain that often keeps us stuck enabling us to live the life we often yearn for. As Rogers once said, “When a person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, terrified, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance…. provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another”
In my spare time I enjoy walking, dabbling in some painting, meeting up with friends and family. Part of being a counsellor is caring for oneself and self-care is paramount to being the best you can be.