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.
Parents of children booked into the Children's Summer Camp and Fun Day will be pleased to hear that council have now confirmed that the funding for the programme will go ahead as applied for. The summer camp that is based at Sherrys Field Sports Complex and will cater for 40 children, starts next Monday 5th at 10.00am. A full schedule of the weeklong event will be published and if not distributed to all parents over the weekend, will certainly be available at registration on the first day for any parent who has not already received one. (As we are late getting confirmation we will print a copy of the summer camp schedule.)
As can be seen it is a fun packed schedule of sports,culture,away trips and games that will keep the young ones busy all week, not to mention the summer camp staff. Saturday will see the fun day taking place, also in Sherry Field Sports Complex and will include all the usual favourites as well as a special visit by the Lord Mayor. While numbers for the camp are limited everyone is welcome on Saturday's events. Changes, if any to this schedule now, will be minor.
There was a large turnout for a meeting to discuss the implications of a proposed closure of the Breast Diagnostic Centre at Craigavon Area Hospital. It has been proposed to reduce this service that will mean the closure of the breast cancer clinic at Craigavon Area Hospital and Belfast City Hospital. The audience heard recounts from several women who have unfortunately had to use the service and it was stressed time and time again how the removal of this service at CAH would greatly increase the hardships associated with breast cancer.
The meeting was organised by Jacqueline Donnelly who invited Joanne Harris from the Knitted Knockers, a group that specialise in handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Knitted Knockers are also currently gathering a petition with the aim of initiating a debate at Westminster surrounding this closure. This petition requires 100,000 signatures to enable this debate to take place. Joanne Harris urged people to sign the petition and for groups to take the petition onboard and highlight it.
Anyone looking to sign this petition can do so at Sherry Field Sports Complex. The consortium has along with other groups, agreed to highlight and promote this petition. Other outlets for signing are available throughout the city. Check social media for details.
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.
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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.
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