Welcome to the West Armagh Consortium's website. We hope that you will find this both interesting and informative. We would like to take this opportunity to give the reader some background to us.
The West Armagh Consortium (WAC) was constituted in November 2002 as a voluntary amalgamation of local community groups from Armagh City West. As a non-sectarian and politically unaffiliated umbrella organisation, the Consortium welcomes affiliations from all new and existing community and voluntary groups in our catchment area. The groups currently affiliated represent districts within the three electoral wards of Abbey Park, Callanbridge and Downs.
Our Social Prescribing Programme is still ongoing. Covid-19 restrictions have impacted upon its delivery but as they are being relaxed more people are being encouraged to avail. As with the Connect Well Programme, online participation is one way to engage and anyone interested in this programme can follow the link or alteratively contact the West Armagh Consortium and ask to get in touch with our Social Prescriber. We are able now to offer a limited physical service and a more localised online service.
If anyone has probelm with availing of the Connect Well programme or indeed any other programme under our Healthy Living Centre service please contact the consortium. We are slowly coming out of lockdown retrictions enabling us to provide a wider service.
Slowly Coming Out Off Lockdown
As with every other group WAC is slowly trying to get back to providing services at our facility at Sherry Fields Recreational Centre. There are a number of classes that have resumed, and others are planning to reopen in the coming weeks/months.
Among classes already reopened are Chair Yoga taking place in Monday mornings. This class is designed for people not suited to more energetic yoga classes
Zumba has moved to Monday evenings, definitely catering for a wee bit more energetic clientele but still within most people’s physical capabilities.
WeightWatchers is back to their Tuesday evening slot. Details of which can be obtained from their website. There are some changes to the format of their meeting that take into account Covid-19 regulations.
They are followed by Kangoo on Tuesday evenings. Definitely for the more energetic. This is a pre book class.
In the coming weeks Wednesday will see the return of Irish dancing classes.
An additional Zumba class may also be slotted on on Wednesday evening.
Junior Taekwondo has resumed on the Thursday evening. Again, a pre book classes operating within Covid-19 regulations.
A second class of Kangoo takes place on Friday evenings.
Up and coming classes include a return of the Quilters classes to their Wednesday morning slot by October and the resumption of the Pain Management Classes, though that is anticipated to be later in the year.
The Shake Off The Lockdown programme began this week with the Mullacreevie Multi Use Games Area hosting the first of the areobic dance sessions. Organised by the West Aramgh Consortium working in conjuncion with local community groups the programme will run throughout the month of August. There was a high number of children who turned out for the sessions and mixing dance and some exercises, it certainly blew away the cobwebs. The dance instructor Joanne Mullen from JoJo Dance said that she was impressed by the skill of many of the dancers.
To promote the programme local community groups distributed leaflets . As in line with the Covid-19 regulation everyone has to be registered , name and contact details. By and large the weather wasn't too bad though Friday was definated worse of the two days. There will be another three weeks of the programme and weather permitting it will follow the same schedule as this week.
Shake Off The Lockdown in Longstone
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The West Armagh Consortum will be delivering yoga classes for long term pain sufferers from Monday 27th July 2020 in the WAC Healthy Living Centre, Sherrys Field Recreational Centre. Start time is 10.00am the class will speacilaise in chair yoga and unlike previous classes we have not set a cut off date and hope to keep the classes going for as long as required by participants. There will be a small charge of £2 for these classes and they are open to both men and women. There are still spaces available for the class. Contact Nora at WAC office or Stephen on 07759949314
For the past 10 weeks the Armagh Covid-19 Community Response Group has been operating a help package programme. They have decided that it is now time to access the sitution and hav isued the following statement and have included it in thi weeks help packages.
8th June 2020 LAST WEEK
Dear Recipient, We hope that you and your family are coping well in the current crisis. As a recipient of our help packages you will be aware of the brilliant work of our volunteers in making and distributing these help packages. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that.
This is now our tenth week into this action and have delivered in excess of 1100 packages. The circumstance of most of the families and individuals on our list has thankfully improved since the early days of the crisis which now necessitates that we review our action. We have decided that this will be the last week at we will be making deliveries using our current list. However, should you still fall within the categories that we were using then please contact us and will continue to assist.
Those categories are:
• Loss of income meaning a significant loss of household income due to being made unemployed or a reduction in your ability to earn. This includes people who have been forced to make benefit claims and are waiting within the system for the determination to be made. (This can take 6week+)
• This does not include individuals currently within the benefit system and receiving payments. It is not possible to include everyone on benefits or in receipt of pensions.
• People forced to self-isolate due to health reasons with little or no family support net. (This may not entail a help package but rather our buddy-up system)
• Other extenuating circumstances can be taken into consideration and can be discussed.
It needs to be noted that we will be not be working from our current list so if you feel that you still need our assistance you must contact us through the publicised numbers. 07763818393 or 07759949314.
While there appears to be a relaxing in the current restrictions, it would be premature to assume that the crisis has passed. The Armagh Covid-19 Community Response Group will continue to work to assist people who are suffering hardship due to the pandemic. We will continue to assist for as long as our resources will permit.
Please take care and be safe. Remember to observe the social distancing regulations. Please also observe any new guidelines that may come into effect regarding changes to the lockdown.
The Armagh Covid-19 Community Response Group.
PICTURED AT THE COMMUNITY RESPONSE MEETING ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT
The growing coronavirus crisis has prompted community groups, sports clubs, businesses, church and some frontline medical groups in Armagh to come together to formulate a community response to this pandemic. At a meeting held in the West Armagh Consortiums' hall on Wednesday night representatives from all these bodies met to discuss the on-going crisis and to see how we as a community can pool resources and put into practise measures that will help the community. An initial course of action undertaken by the group will see the drawing up of a directory of local resources, including volunteers willing to help out, volunteers with skills and expertise that could be of benefit to an agreed action plan. It is expected that that action plan will include assistance to people forced to self-isolate, assistance for our most vulnerable citizens and the distribution of any accumulated materials. That assistance may well include the collections of groceries, or medications and help to replace fuel such as gas cylinders or coal. . It was agreed to coordinate this response through the West Armagh Consortium based at Sherrys Field Recreational Centre. The centre will act as the main focal point for delivery of an agreed action plan. Both the Pearse Og and Harps clubs will serve as drop off points who in turn will feed into the WAC centre. All the groups have agreed to encourage their respective volunteer bases to get involved. The names and essential skills contained within these volunteer bases will be collated together to produce an overall database to cover an even wider area. Assistance that can be delivered by volunteers will be managed through the WAC to maximise effectiveness.
We are asking anyone if they would like to volunteer or help in anyway possible to contact either of the following numbers 028 37522579 or 07763818393 or 07759949314. There will also be a Go Fund Me Page set up on Facebook for anyone wishing to give financial assistance.
Two charities benefited from the West Armagh Community Festival's fun raising venture that saw a number of hardy community activists climb Slieve Donard to hold a poc fada.£3,173.58 was raised and was divided evenly betwen the Lord Mayors Charity Fund and Lisanally Special School. Stephen Fields from West Armagh Consortium presented one of the cheques to the Lord Mayor Cllr, Mealla Campbell while John Fields presented the other cheque for Lisanally Special School to Eileen McCann.
What is Social Prescribing? It is a communinty approach to health and well being.SPRING is the Healthy Living Alliances' Social Prescribing Programme being delivered through its network of Healthy Living Centres.The West Armagh Consortium Healthy Living Centre,based at Sherrys Sports Complex is part of that network and where our local SPRING social prescriber is based.
The West Armagh Cosortium will be offering a free counselling service starting in early January. Counselling covers a wide range of issues and by its very nature is tailored to the clients individual needs.The service will be strictly managed in line with recognised and approved proceedures and protocols.Details of this srvice are contained within the poster below. Contact Emma to book an appointment.
We are indebted to Martin McCann for the video monatge of the St.Patricks Day Parade.Please follow the link below.
There was a wee grey toy rabbit lost during Sundays parade. It was lost around the Charlemount area. It is a childs' comforter . If anyone knows anything about this can the get in touch. 07759949314.
In a follow up to this story, there is a happy ending. The grey rabbit was handed in at the Shambles Yard were the council had organised a family day. A council worker took it to lost and found and when she seen our social media posts contacted the consortium. We are pleased to say that rabbit and child have been reunited, much to the relief of the child's parents, who said that 'it restores you faith in human nature when your realised that someone made the effort to return the toy'
The streets of Armagh were thronged with people who came out to enjoy the community parade organised in response to the ABC Councils decision to change its own St. Patricks Day Procession. Lead by a flag party consisting to 25 national flags and walking behind the St. Patricks Flag, the parade made it way through the streets for its finishing point at Sherry Field Sports Complex. Even the odd shower of rain couldn't dampen people’s spirits who can out in their droves to both spectate and walk in the parade.
The organisers have thanked everyone who helped out with the organising of the parade and the many individuals and business who donated money that was used put the parade over. Speaking on behalf of the organising group, Stephen Fields said “The response to the news that the council had changed the St. Patricks Day parade has been phenomenal. The community stepped up to the plate and came out in force. This was very evident in both the turnout and the volunteers who helped out in every way. This included the making of flags/bunting, the donations of materials, the stewards, messages of support and willingness to be involved. Due to the complete lack of consultation on the part of the council (council has still not responded to our initial letter), we only had just over 4 weeks to organise this parade and it could not have been done without this support. A big thank you to all and all credit is due to the community.
“Sundays parade was an example of inclusiveness. We sought to include as many as possible and to do so in a festive and community spirited manner. Numerous people have thanked WAC and the organising group for putting on the parade, but the real thanks goes to the people who by their actions over the weekend completely vindicated our decision to go ahead and organised the parade in response to the council’s disgraceful decision to change the day.”
It has been described as one of the biggest and colourful parades in years going back to the time when the community used to organise monster parades through the town. Those parades were at a time when the council hardly recognised St. Patricks Day but eventually through constant pressure from local representatives the council began to take the day onboard. However, that has not been a smooth journey, they have almost been dragged kicking and screaming to the conclusion that as a public body they should be supportive of everybody's expressions of culture and views. Nevertheless and even to this day, they have sought to mitigate against the parade and any sense of Irishness . Their choice in bunting omits the recognised colours of green and white. They have a lengthy list of pre-conditions for those wanting to take part in the parade , so much so, that in recent years there has been very little community buy in. This in turn has forced the council to rely more and more on professional street performers. While such acts are very colourful, they alone cannot command the support and widespread community participation.
For more picture follow READ MORE
It was smiley faces all round at the childrens' party held in Sherrys recently marking the end of Carnival . The party was organised by our local polish group POLACY to mark the end of Carnival which is a pre-Lenten event. Such events are traditional in many countries and there are many similarities in how this time is marked.
The Polish Carnival season includes Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek), when pączki (doughnuts) are eaten, and Śledzik (Shrove Tuesday) or Herring Day. The Tuesday before the start of Lent is also often called Ostatki (literally "leftovers"), meaning the last day to party before the Lenten season.
The traditional way to celebrate Carnival is the kulig, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered countryside. In modern times, Carnival is increasingly seen as an excuse for intensive partying. As can be seen from our pictures,everyone certainly enjoyed the event.
Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC100377