A Locality Promoting Wellbeing Manager for the Southern Trust, Fergal O’Brien has been awarded with an MBE for his outstanding services to the community through Social Work.

Fergal, a qualified Social Worker started his career in the community sector and has managed a range of community development and health improvement services for the Southern Trust in the Newry and Mourne area. He has also worked as a Training and Development Consultant for the Trust’s Social Services Workforce Development and Training Team, taking a lead role in Community Development and Person Centred planning.

Fergal led a research project on improving life expectancy amongst Traveller men for his MSc Professional Development in Social Work from Ulster University which was recognised with a number of awards. He has also received a Social Work Leadership and Strategic Award and was recognised as finalist in the Northern Ireland Social Work Awards.

Most recently, Fergal has led the development of a new Community Development Professional in Practice Training Programme in partnership with a range of agencies and Ulster University. The one year course gives academic recognition to and will help to mainstream community development approaches in Health and Social Care.

Congratulating Fergal on his MBE, Roberta Brownlee, Chair of the Southern Trust said: “We are absolutely delighted that Fergal has received this recognition for his years of dedication to improving the wellbeing of our local communities. Fergal has been a real advocate for taking a community development approach to addressing health inequalities and has worked with a great team of Promoting Wellbeing and Social Services colleagues in helping to improve the health and social outcomes for local people.”