On Wednesday 29th March 2017, the Planters Tavern was the venue for a breakfast event aimed at raising awareness within the community of a range of health and wellbeing issues, focusing on improving mental wellbeing and addressing isolation.
The popular event was jointly organised by TADA (The Antrim, Down and Armagh Rural Support Network) along with Waringstown Together, a new community forum for Waringstown village.
Speakers included, Ulster Supported Employment LTD, PIPs Lurgan, Care in Crisis, One therapy. Hamills Pharmacy carried out BP checks and discussed some of their health issues. They had a testimonial from local resident Walter Ferris. Two MLAs made very passionate speeches about their experience of mental health. Doug Beatty spoke about his experience of trauma in Afghanistan that took years to heal and that the trauma can be rekindled without any notice.
Jonathan Buckley spoke movingly about groups of teenagers in the same school he was attending who took their own lives and the ripple effect that had with their peers.
Those in attendance included residents from Waringstown and surrounding rural communities including Magheralin and Donaghcloney.
Geraldine Lawless, Chair of TADA, welcomed everyone and wished every success to Sandra and her group and assured them of TADA’s continuing support.
Launching ‘Waringstown Together’ at the event, Chairperson Sandra Ledlie explained the purpose of the new forum is to ‘promote the welfare and interests of residents in Waringstown and the surrounding area through co-operation with other similar organisations both locally and nationally’. ‘Waringstown Together’ comprises of representation from a range of existing community groups and organisations in the village, including those with interests in community development, planning and environment, sport, local churches, neighbourhood watch and others.
Objectives of the forum will be developed over the coming months but is anticipated to play key roles in working together to contribute to
- Building a stronger community and community spirit
- Providing a shared voice for the community of Waringstown
- Improving the wellbeing of people in the village, infrastructure, facilities and amenities
- Promoting the image of Waringstown
Establishment of the forum, follows on from a process of discussion facilitated by TADA over recent months, who in bringing together a range of community based groups and organisations, have been working to build the capacity of groups within communities to work more closely together. The forum were invited to visit a number of models of good practice hosted by TADA. This gave the group added incentive when they saw what others had achieved.
The Waringstown Together forum is hoping to identify opportunities for working together in organising and promoting community events, as well as giving a shared voice for the village in working with public services and others to address quality of life issues that matter to the community.
TADA have been working for rural dwellers for the past 20 years. They have lobbied for better services to improve the wellbeing of rural residents and have implemented many programmes that have levered thousands of pounds into the rural economy. TADA is very proactive with five staff under the management of Brendan McCann. The recent programmes informing people on mental health issues is striking the right cord with our members. The event was yet another testimony to this with numbers exceeding all expectations.
Vice Chair Kyle Savage has been working very hard with Sandra and her group and has been the steer in this successful event.
The group are all appreciative of fellow TADA Board members Harris Jones, Neill Harris and Walter Ferris. Thanks to Jonathan Buckley and Doug Beattie MLAs, Aldermen Arnold Hatch (TADA Board member), Councillor Julie Flattery, Clergy, Community groups, staff, speakers. A special word of thanks goes to Darren, Neil and the staff of the Planters.