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.
The first of twelve sessions being delivered in the Healthy Living Centre at Sherrys took place today (Friday 13th).This course to help people suffering with chronic pain to self manage their condition. The course will run over a 12 week period dealing with different aspects of how living with chronic pain impacts on everyday life. The first session saw a presentation from a local pharmacis, Adrian McKeever. This was followed by a question and answer session.
Future sessions will cover different aspects of how to manage pain and ways in which to help sufferers.The course will run for a further 11 weeks and is already oversubscribed. However, it is intended to repeat the project in the new year.
Tuesday 11th September, designated as International Suicide Awareness Day, was marked by Drumarg Community Association with the official opening of its new communal garden. The garden located at the Ungola Road entrance to the estate has only recently been completed. In a fitting addition the group have included a bench dedicated to local resident Sean Óg Brady who sadly lost his life to suicide. In a short candle light ceremony the garden and the bench were officially opened. Fr. Cathal Deveney, who was born and raised in the area officiated at the ceremony.
COME ALONG AND ENJOY FREE INDOOR & OUTDOOR PLAY
Through the PEACE IV Programme and Play Strategy, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council are delighted to provide a traditional play and events programme.
This programme provides you, your family and your community the opportunity to build positive relationships through play. We are providing play for children up to 16 years old, regardless of ability, along with parents.
You are invited to come and take part in the FREE play sessions and events.
We are offering parents and family members the opportunity to volunteer and be supported to train in Playwork and gain qualifications - all FREE of cost.
3.30pm - 5.30pm Wednesday 11th, 18th, 25th September
2.30pm - 4.30pm Saturday 28th September
7.00pm - 9.00pm Wednesday 2nd & 9th October
Final Event on The Mall
12.00pm - 4.00pm Saturday 26th October
Sessions will also be held at Mill Field MUGA
3.30pm - 5.30pm Tuesday 10th, 17th, 24th September
11.00pm - 1.00pm Saturday 28th September
3.30pm - 5.30pm Tuesday 1st & 8th October
Final Event on The Mall
West Armagh Consortium Healthy Living Centre are organising this course to help people suffering with chronic pain to self manage their condition. The course will run over a 12 week period dealing with different aspects of how living with chronic pain impacts on everyday life. It is free but there are a limited number of places.
West Armagh Consortium are members of the Southern Regional Healthy Living Alliance (SRHLA)and are providing the a Healthy Living Centre (HLC) for this area at our premises on Cathedral Road. Also based at the HLC is a Social Prescribing project for this area. There are three Social Prescribers for the SRHLA and one will be based at WAC offices in Sherry's Field Recreational Centre.
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.
Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC100377