Reconnect -– originally known as Garden Reach – was established in 1991 by Anne Erwin, a then Superintendent Physiotherapist at the Royal Victoria Hospital. At that time, Anne recognized that after individuals with an acquired brain injury (ABI) had been discharged from hospital, there was very little available in the form of ongoing rehabilitation and care. Through Garden Reach, brain injured individuals could access a means to recovering social, physical and cognitive skills either lost or impaired by injury.
For the first ten years of existence, Garden Reach was based on an industrial site in East Belfast and worked with 12 clients. Resources were basic and though the kind help of Laganside Corporation allowed use of the site rent free, there were other difficulties to contend with, such as vandalism and burglary, which was very disheartening.
Rehabilitation was mainly delivered through training in Horticulture and plants, which were grown by the clients from seed, flourished and in turn, were sold to the public, generating much needed income.