Covid-19 Volunteer Update 06-04-20

Update for volunteers on Covid-19 Armagh Community Response Group

  • Continuing to assist with supplying medical staff with PPEs. Among those helped in recent days
  • Staff in Craigavon A&E
  • Staff in Lurgan Hospital
  • Nurses in Daisy Hill
  • Crossmaglen Health Centre
  • Moy Health Centre
  • Domiciliary care workers
  • Shop workers
  • Post Office workers 
  • Our team of seastresses continue to make scrubs,face masks and scrub bags
  • We are beginning to get our deliveries of non perishable foodstuffs, though wholesalers are unable to meet all our requests
  • Volunteers have prepared Sherrys to serve as a collating and distributing point for help packages.
  • We have placed  orders with local produce suppliers to picked up on weekly basis as to enable us to add fresh produce to help packages.
  • We have responded to a number of requests for help in this respect nd continue to set up buddy systems where possible.
  • Groups have been asked to look at their earlier lists to include contact details and help identify those most in need. 

Covid-19 Update Volunteer Update 31-03-20

 Update for volunteers on Covid-19 Armagh Community Response Group

  • There are 20+ seamstresses ready to work from home on the sewing together of scrubs for local hospitals
  • A local businessman is cutting out the templates for the scrubs that will deivered to the seamstressess homes.
  • Donations of materials came in in repsonse to an appeal for materials and continues to do so.
  • We are currently in process of buying foodstuffs for help packages that will be delivered to the old and vulnerable. Prioirty will be given to people with little or no family safety net.
  • The issue here is not the grocery list that people have identified but what is available to buy. Even retailers are being limited the the amounts that they can pruchase.
  • Where posible we will create a buddy systemfor the most vulnerable that will enable the volunteer to assist with the needs of the person who is self isolating. This may well be getting grocieries, medications etc. There will be a set of guidlines for volunteers printed below.
  • PPE equipment has been sourced and is being donated on an on going basis to frontline workers in the NHS.
  • Volunteers are making homemade PPE which although not suitable for frontline NHS will be very useful for volunteers when carrying out their duties.

Guidlines for volunteers

  1. Be clear about the role you are taking on. Do not over-stretch yourself by agreeing to take on too much. 
  2. Bear in mind the situation that we are in,Covid-19 may go on for a long time.
  3. Make sure you are clear on the contact details of who is co-ordinating the activity.
  4. WAC is a Registered Body for Access NI Checks and are obligated to ensure that procedure is adhered to. Under normal circumstances an Enhanced Check would be  carried out however given this emergency situation it will not be feasible to complete applications  but you will be asked required questions.           i.e. Do you appear on a barred list. Please do not be offended at this question as it is a mandatory question that has to be asked.
  5. Do not volunteer yourself if you feel unwell.
  6. Protective clothing will be worn at all times, especially with the distribution of help packs.
  7. Do not enter anyones home. If delivering, knock door, leave items and then retire to a safe distance.
  8. Any volunteer undertaking shopping for a vulnerable person take care to ensure clarity. It is advisable to take pictures of reciepts where possible and avoid handling or exchanging money, again if possible.
  9. Do not share any information that you may gain about a vulnerable person. 
  10. Always try to maintain the recommended  social distancing of a minimum of 2 metres from everyone including other volunteers.

Covid-19 Volunteer Update

Welcome to what effectively will be our notice board that will act as an update for the volunteers who have signed up with our Community Response Group to help during this Covid-19 crisis. We hope to use this as a platform for passing on information and  would recommend a regular check in.Unlike social media the infomation here will now disappear with aditions beyond our control. 

Actions so far.

  • The volunteer database contains over 100 volunteers
  • We have distributed leaflets througout the town along with large posters giving information and containing our contact numbers
  • A number of areas have complied lists of OAPs and other vulnerable people that we will need to monitor
  • We  have sourced funding that will be used to purchase essentials that will be delivered when required specifically those in identified need.We have limited resources so will we will rely on volunteers local knowledge here
  • We have sourced PPE items which we have given to ICU in Craigavon, where it will be put to good use.
  • We are currently sourcing more of these items in repsonse to requests from other areas.

We will be in contact with volunteers as this situation progresses. You will be asked to help in varous ways but efforts will be made to connect volunteers to the roles they listed on the registration form.   

Housing Executive Reduced Contact... Covid-19

The Housing Executive have been in touch to pass on information on how they will be operating during this Covid-19 crisis.The Armagh office along with all other offices will be operating on reduced staffing levels.They will not be conducting home visits. However, they will still be dealing with emergency repairs and issues of homelessness. Repairs schemes have been suspended and the matter is constantly under review. 

Covid-19 Community Response.Volunteers Needed.

If you would like to volunteer to help out during the Covid-19 crisis and get involved in the community response. Please click the following link to see the form for registering volunteers -

Please click the following link to see the form for registering volunteers - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdjx-Soag5IkQI6pqRm8J4IGsYnwZcqbq2YRC9WjIAX75uPGg/viewform?usp=sf_link


Community Response To The Growing CoVid-19 Crisis

CoVid 19


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. 


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.

1 Counselling Emma

Closure of Breast Cancer Unit at Craigavon highlighted

The audience attending the meeting to discuss the closure of the Breast Cancer Clinic at Craigavon Hospital.

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.

Joanne Harris from Knitted Knockers addressing the audience, also standing Jacqueline Donnelly who organised the meeting
It was noted that the meeting was very light on male participation, something stressed by Cllr,Garath Keating who was one of a small number of men who attended. Cllr Keating also spoke saying that although the figure of male breast cancer diagnosis is small, nonetheless this issue is not exclusively a woman's issue and should not be viewed as such. He added  that women diagnosed with breast cancer are partners, sisters and mothers of men and the impact of this closure will be felt throughout the community.


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'   

End Of Carnival Party

Polish Party

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.

Polish Party at Sherrys



There was a great turnout for the litter pick along the banks of the Callan River on Saturday. Organised by Friends Of The Callan River, the  entire exercise had a much improving effect of the rivers environment. Pasted below is a link to a video made by one of the team ,Mr. John Nixon. Copy and paste it into your search bar and the link will take you to the video.

You know the old saying- a picture paints a thousand words. Congratulations to all involved it was true community spirited event and deserving of all our support.   




Broken glass at sherrys field childrens play park
Some of the glass placed on childrens' play equipment

The West Armagh Consortium is calling on the youths responsible for the deliberate targeting of children’s play equipment to consider the danger that they are putting young children in. It follows several incidents when bottles were smashed in and on play equipment in the children’s play park at Sherry Field Sports Complex.

Speaking for the West Armagh Consortium, Stephen Fields said, “It is clear from the number of times that this has happened and where the bottles have been smashed that it is not the actions of some fling it away vandals. The play equipment itself appears to be the target with glass being deliberated broken in and around as well as on top of equipment. In some cases, this glass appears to be strategically placed where young children would be playing in what can only be assumed is an effort to inflict as must hurt as possible on unsuspecting children. We have pictures of bottles having been broken and placed at the top and bottom of slides.

“These are deplorable acts and even go beyond the wanted destruction of community facilities. The individuals involved in this are deliberating targeting young children. This is an obvious conclusion considering where they are breaking the bottles and, in some cases where the glass is being deliberately placed.

“Thankfully no child has been injured by these acts. The result has been that the park has had to remain closed on several occasions while council staff clean up the glass.

“As community representatives, we would urge these young people to stop this very dangerous and destructive behaviour. We would urge anyone seeing this behaviour to report it to the police, their local community representatives, or both. All it takes is a sliver of glass to remain on a piece of equipment that a child is playing on for them to suffer a very serious cut. And before anyone turns a blind eye, remember that child could be yours.”

Physical Acivity Programme

We all know that a persons health and well being has a number of factors; diet, positive mental attitude and physical fitness are but some of the ingredients that go into attaining a healthy lifestyle. The consortium will be delivering a physical exercise programme starting on Monday October 29th and running up until Christmas week. The classes that will take place at a local gym (Performance Centre on the Nursery Road) will be tailored to an individuals physical abilities and will consist of three one-hour gym classes held on Mon-Wed and Fri evening.  All the details are contained in the leaflet printed below. The charge of £25 is, as the leaflets points out fully refundable based on attendance of the course. Previous fitness classes have enjoyed a varying level of support which has resulted in people having been turned away at the start of the course only for it to emerge that places signed up for were not filled. The easiest way for anyone interested in signing up for this free series of gym sessions, is to use the usual contact details for the consortium. Alternatively, you can sign up via your local community representative.

Fitness classes at local gym 

Local Charities Benefit From Festival Run

Presentation Event
Deputy Lord Mayor of ACBC, Cllr, Paul Duffy pictured with those attending the presentation evening.


Two local charities were presented with an equal share of the money raised at the sponsored run/walk held on August 10th as part of the West Armagh Community Festival. The event raised £4,220.Lisanally Special Needs School and Armagh Breast Cancer Support Group each received £2,110 at the night organised by the Lord Mayors Office at which the Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr, Paul Duffy made the presentations and congratulated the festival committee on delivering such a successful event.

There was a special presentation to Jack Rolston who attends Lisanally School. Together with his family ,Jack raised well is excess of £600 and in recognition of this fantastic achievement the festival committee presented Jack with a Harry Potter rucksack and wand. Needless to say there was a plethora of spells cast for the rest of the evening by the young wizard himself.

The event was attended by community volunteers, local politicians and representatives of the two charities.The committees sponsored run organiser Mr. John Fields thanked everyone for all their efforts in the organising and participation in the run. He also thanked  the local council who allowed the run to take place in the Palace Grounds. He added that it was particularly heartening to see the money raised being put to such good use.


Following an attempted online scam received by the WAC this morning we would urge people to be vigilant as in a previous instance the scammers targeted people in the locale. It is not clear whether or not the scammers operate on a geographical grid, going through area codes but previously there was a number of individuals targeted within a local area. The scam is similar to the previous one except they are purporting to come from Microsoft this time and not BT. However the result will be the same. You will informed that scammers are:

*Slowing down your computer/laptop.

*If not already on,turn on your machine.

*You cannot see what is going on in the background because they are hiding their activity.

*To see what they are doing, press the windows key and R and it opens up a box bottom left hand corner.

*Then you'll be instructed to insert a lettered code. This allows them to install a programme onto your computer and once that's activated, you have lost control of your computer. You screen will go blank at least at your end but allowing them to access  your files. From there on in it will be a matter of them stalling you with false information and bogus commands with the sole aim of gaining access to your banking details.

If you received such a call do not comply with it. Simply hang up. Genuine service providers do not contact their customers in this manner. Even if you are suspicious do not try to confirm with a number or email address that the caller may give. Go to the service providers verified online site and follow their respective contact procedures and details.   

Presentation Reception At Palace For Local Charities

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh City Banbridge Craigavon Council, Cllr Paul Duffy, has invited members of the West Armagh Community Festival Committee to a reception in the Lord Mayor's Parlour on 26th September. Representatives of the local charities due to receive a share of the monies raised through the sponsored run/walk held as part of the West Armagh Community Festival in August, have also been invited.

Lisanally Special School and the Armagh Breast Cancer Awareness Group will benefit from the funds raised through the run/walk which was very well supported. Several hundred runners and walkers took part in the event that was held in the Palace grounds on August 10th 

Committee members wishing to attend need to confirm their attendance.

Could you help someone with dementia to keep doing the things they love?




Could you help someone with dementia to keep doing the things they love?

 Side by Side volunteers support people living with dementia in the local community.  This involves companionship for a person in the early stages of dementia helping them to take part in social and recreational activities, providing one-to-one support to enable people with dementia to continue with their hobbies and interests or engage in new ones. 

This would be for a few hours every week or fortnight in the Armagh, Banbridge or Craigavon areas.

We are currently seeking people with these interests:

-        Golf                 - Gardening                - Cycling                     - Baking

-        Cricket            - Farming                    - Knitting                    - Walking

 Want to find out more?

If you would like to find out more about this or any of our volunteering opportunities please contact Rosario Mc Hugh, Volunteering Officer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. /028 71 384570) or visit our website at www.alzheimers.org.uk.


Festival Organisers Reply To Criticism

In light of the media coverage of the West Armagh Community Festival and attacks upon it by some Unionist politicians ,the organisers have issued the following statement.

"The West Armagh Community Festival has been in operation for over 20 years and in that time has been officially opened by Mayors and Lord Mayors from ALL parties within Armagh City and District Council (ACDC). The events that appear to be causing upset to members of the unionist parties have been part and parcel of the Festival since its early days, so why are unionist politicians up in arms now, considering that they participated in its official opening over the years and witnessed some of the events in question.

"Indeed, we have the current Lord Mayor officiating at our sponsored run/walk tomorrow night in the Palace Grounds. The monies raised at this will benefit two local charities, Lisanally Special School and Armagh Breast Cancer Support Group.

"The Festival was deliberately timed to coincide with what used to be a very volatile time of year, particularly within the nationalist community. The Festival organisers used the Festival to redivert energies. By and large this has been a great success insofar that here in Armagh the anniversary of Internment now passes off without any unrest and anti-social behaviour as had been the norm.

"The events in the Festival are named after people who are significant to the community in Armagh, who died either as part of the conflict or had respected standing within the community. There are over 10 events named after local people, not all who died violently.

"We are currently involved in a very busy Festival with a full schedule of multi-cultural events and cross community activities geared to everyone in the community. We hope this statement will suffice. If there are any further queries we will gladly respond to them after the Festival is completed."



New Volunteering Opportunities

Armagh Travellers Support Group (ASTG) is seeking new Directors (Trustees) to join our Management Board.  This is a great opportunity to make a difference to an organisation committed the improving the quality of life of the Traveller Community living in Armagh.  You will be part of a voluntary team supporting the governance of an organisation delivering a range of supports and community services to families and young people.  We are looking for individuals with a background in the private, public, voluntary or community sectors with an interest in social justice issues who can contribute to the leadership and governance of the Organisation.  If you feel you have skills and qualities that could help, ATSG would welcome your involvement. We currently meet on a monthly basis. For further information, or to submit letter of interest, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tel 028 3751 7531 by Friday 24th August.



The West Armagh Community Festival is in full swing having started off on Monday with the children's summer camp. 5 days of fun and games for 7 -11 years olds that will include a number of trips.

Marie Smyth Ladies Road Bowls 2018
Marie Smyth Ladies Road Bowls 2018

Monday evening also saw the start of the evening events with the Maire Smyth Ladies Road Bowls Challenge that took place on the Drumcairn Road. There is a definitely ladies theme to this years festival so it was fitting to start of with this competition.
Tuesday and the summer camp as out at the Navan Fort for the Eco Trail and Warrior Trail. That evening we had the McElvanna/ Mallon U-10 camogie match between St.Brigids and Madden. Madden were victorious so congratulations to them.
That was closely followed by the Máiréad Farrell Challenge between Pearse Ogs Ladies and Edendork Ladies. Edendork proved too strong for the city team and it congratulations to them.


Callanbridge Fun Day
Callanbridge Fun Day
Mullacreevie Fun Day
Mullacreevie Fun Day

Above is a number of snaps capturing fun days held by two areas in the town last Thursday. Callanbridge and Mullacreevie held days in their respective park areas and were blessed with the continuing good weather. Bouncy castles ,face painting, dancing and treats were the order if the day. Well done to both community groups for organising the events.

As part of their day Callanbridge also officially unveiled a bench dedicated to the memory of Ann Loughlin a long standing member of the group who sadly passed away recently.

In memory of Ann Loughran
In Memory of Ann Loughran
In memory of Ann Loughlin
 For more pictures follow READ MORE

Read more ...

The Parks Experience

As previously covered, The Armagh Parks Experience began on Saturday 26th May.
It  a slight change to the format  previously use in the 7 Hills Challenge in that this event takes place over five sessions taking in parks in and around Armagh.  It started off with the Demesne on Saturday 26th and the second park walk, this time at the  Navan, took place last Saturday 2nd June. Below are some pictures of the walkers. There are still three parks to go.

The Parks Experience




Read more ...


Stephen Fields Community Development Manager
Stephen Fields the WAC's Community Development Manager

The West Armagh Consortium has appointed Stephen Fields as their Community Development Programme Manager. The post formed a substantial part of the consortiums successful application to the Big Lottery. The consortium were successful acquiring nearly £200,000 for a three year programme under the Big Lottery Peoples and Communities Programme.

Stephen has now taken up the post and will be based in the consortiums offices at Sherry Fields Sports Complex. The WAC Chairperson Fiona Kelly welcomed the appointment saying " The West Armagh Consortium have for many years now strived to get a full-time resource in place at Sherry’s. I am confident that local community groups and the community in general will be able to benefit from this appointment. 

The programme under which Stephen has been appointed also has programme costs and I know that he has already been in contact with local community groups to consult on a beneficial action plan, a plan that will take the needs of groups into account. I would like to wish Stephen all the best in his new role."


The programme is a three year one running until 2021 and will encompass many aspects of community activities in the west of the city. Although based in Sherry’s Sports Complex, aspects of the programme will be delivered in the various community venues throughout the city. It is envisaged to utilise the network of community houses that were set up under the NRPB programme. 


The following course is a free course designed to help people living with along term medical condition. It is free but anyone wishing to avail of it should use the contact details to confirm. It consists of six 2.5 hour sessions. 

The Challenging Your Condition Course is a supportive group where everyone shares helpful tips and experiences.  The course leaders have a Long Term Condition themselves and understand the difficulties participants face.  They refuse to let symptoms take control of their lives and can support you to manage yours.  The emphasis is on learning what you can do for yourself and how to make the most of the information you get from doctors, nurses and other health care workers.  Its for people living with a Chronic Long Term Condition ( Epilepsy, MS, Parkinson’s, arthritis etc)  even if newly diagnosed.

These courses are for persons over 18 years.

To find out more about these FREE courses and secure a place please contact the office on 028 9078 2940 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Further information can be found on our website https://arthritiscare.org.uk/our-services-and-support/events/filter:Courses%20and%20Workshops




invites you to an information session on Universal Credit... 



How long will I have to wait for my money?

I have attended previous Universal Credit sessions...should I attend another?

What information can I pass onto members of my community?

If I move house, how will it affect me?


If you have asked yourself any of the above or you have questions of your own around Universal Credit, join us at this community focused session!

DATE: Wednesday 14th March 2018
TIME: Registration and Refreshments at 10.00 am

VENUE: Lough Neagh Discovery Centre
RSVP to Siobhán NOW and state any lunch re

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone or text: 07974 263686

I have attended previous Universal Credit sessions...should I attend another?

Funded by the Housing Executive Community Grant Fund with assistance from Supporting Communities







Any community representatives  interested in this conference the registration deadline is Wednesday 7th March.

Contact the consortium 07759949314 if you are interested in attending and we can get you details registered 



The Palace Demesne On a Spring Morning
A Picturesque View The Palace Demesne. But Remember Your Elderly/Vulnerable Neighbours.
In light of the current cold snap several community groups in the city have urged people to be conscious of their neighbours especially the elderly or vulnerable. People have been urged to call on elderly neighbours to see how they are? Do they need anything and generally to just to say hello. The West Armagh Consortium would echo those calls and in view of the current cold snap such a good neighbourly action could make all the difference to an elderly or vulnerable person. It can be reassuring for the person involved simply to know that someone has taken the time to call and check after their well being. It does not require a huge effort on someone's part to do so and it shows a good sense of community spirit. A community spirit that demonstrates the difference between a community living together and looking out for each other and a collection of people who just happen to live in the same area.