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Group hit by battle over cafe at castle

By Lisa Smyth

Published 01/04/2015

Praxis Care registered as a charity in 1983 and is a major provider of services for adults and children with a learning disability, mental ill-health, acquired brain injury and for older people, including people with dementia.

The group was established in 2002 by the merging of three well-established charities in Northern Ireland.

The word Praxis can mean the putting into practice of a skill.

It now provides a range of support services for people with mental health issues, including counselling, domicillary care and a befriending scheme.

The charity has hit the headlines in recent years.

In February, a high court judge ordered it to relinquish possession of its walled garden within the grounds of Hillsborough Castle following a failed legal battle with the Secretary of State.

Sixteen people with learning difficulties were employed in a market garden and coffee shop run by the mental health charity.

The row began as the castle estate, the Queen's official Northern Ireland residence and home of the Secretary of State, underwent a change of management.

Praxis said it had invested £400,000 in improvements since moving to the site but Mr Justice Deeny ruled that the charity had failed to establish that it was given any expectation of remaining on the site after its 10-year licence expired.

The NIO also turned down a compensation request by the charity and said the charity had benefited from extremely generous terms at the site, including an annual rent of just £1.

Last year, the Belfast Telegraph revealed Nevin Ringland, the organisation's founder and chief executive, is one of Northern Ireland's highest paid charity bosses, earning £142,000.

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