Justice Minister Naomi Long opens new Staff Wellbeing Hub at Maghaberry Prison

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Prison Officers carry out a challenging and unique role and it is important that we ensure they receive the wellbeing support, recognition and development opportunities deserving of the role, Justice Minister Naomi Long has said.

Officially opening the new Staff Wellbeing Hub at Maghaberry during Prisons Week, Minister Long praised the 700-strong prison workforce at the Prison for their commitment, dedication and innovation.

The Staff Wellbeing Hub in Maghaberry Prison has been developed as a welcoming and purpose built area where staff can access information on support services and receive support after critical incidents. This is the first staff wellbeing hub and sets the design principles and standard to be rolled out across the other establishments.

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Minister Long said: “In the Northern Ireland Prison Service we have a professional, skilled and supported workforce serving with confidence, competence and compassion.

“Prison staff provide a vital public service. On a daily basis they challenge and support some of the most complex, vulnerable and sometimes dangerous members of our society with patience and compassion. They are innovative and highly committed and it is important that we recognise the contribution of our staff by fostering a culture of excellence and highlighting the work they do on behalf of our community.”

Minister Long added: “Prisons should be reflective of society, we should embrace diversity and promote a positive, welcoming and inclusive working environment where staff are encouraged to reach their full potential. And I know this new Staff Wellbeing Hub at Maghaberry will support and develop opportunities for all staff across the Service.”

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Welcoming the opening of the Hub, Director General of the Prison Service Ronnie Armour said: “The work of prison staff often goes unseen by the general public. It can, at times, be challenging and it is right that we invest in our staff and their wellbeing. This centre at Maghaberry is the first of its kind in the Prison Service and marks an important milestone in how we support our staff when they need it most. It is also the blueprint for our other prisons and we will be working to design and deliver bespoke services for all of our staff.”