The founder of Grounded Espresso Bars talks about the people who inspired him to start his business venture and what made him decide to create a new public initiative
I have been fortunate enough to see some of the sights of the world, from the busy streets of New York City to the French countryside and the sunset in Ibiza, but I'm the first to admit that I've always remained a Newry man at heart.
Having started off my career as a radiotherapist in 2004, I soon took a change of path as I realised that I wanted to be at the heart of the community in Newry and took the leap of setting up my own coffee shop, Grounded Espresso Bars.
I wanted Grounded to be an interesting place for friends, family and visitors to share stories and meet over some fine coffee and food.
Family and friends have always been closest to my heart and have remained the inspiration for providing the lifeblood to my business.
Since opening in 2006, I have been delighted with Grounded's achievements, from winning Great Taste Awards to gaining recognition from The Chartered Institute of Marketing and even opening a successful café at the foot of Slieve Gullion Mountain.
In the past year my inspirational platform has shifted considerably.
Losing some of my closest friends to suicide has given me the strength and inspiration to start a suicide awareness campaign which will help to bring this increasingly prevalent issue to the forefront of the public's eye.
Alongside PIPS (Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm), I have developed "Prevent Suicide; Speak Up-Reach Out!" and my hope is for communities to come together over a simple everyday activity, having a cup of coffee, to provide each other with support on the issue which affects so many.
Being able to use my own idea and business, Grounded, to honour those friends I have lost to suicide and provide a support for the whole community is a huge inspiration and one that I am so proud to be involved in.