Local Learning Disability Group uncover ancient ruins in Bessbrook

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Thursday, November 5th, 2015
Community, News
A group of Learning Disability Day Opportunities clients from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust have unveiled an historic find during a conservation project at Derrymore Woods.
Colm Murphy Volunteer ,Tina Maguire, Day Opportunities Support Worker, Roberta Brownlee Trust Chair, Barney O’ Hare National Trust , Sean Smyth Day Opportunities Support Worker, Alyn Jones Alliance Youth, with participants in the Day Opportunities Programme, Lyndsey Mc Gowan, William McGrory, Thomas Toner, John Mc Kinney, Ross Mc Mullan and David Porter

Colm Murphy Volunteer ,Tina Maguire, Day Opportunities Support Worker, Roberta Brownlee Trust Chair, Barney O’ Hare National Trust , Sean Smyth Day Opportunities Support Worker, Alyn Jones Alliance Youth, with participants in the Day Opportunities Programme, Lyndsey Mc Gowan, William McGrory, Thomas Toner, John Mc Kinney, Ross Mc Mullan and David Porter

The ruins of old walls were uncovered from amongst trees during routine clearance work by the group, who have been based at Derrymore House for the past four years. The Trust arranges a wide range of Day Opportunity programmes to help people with Learning or Physical Disabilities to develop their skills, abilities and interests. The group, who are more used to exploring the homes of local wildlife, were thrilled to make the rare discovery. Local people tell the story that Mr Richardson, who owned the site and old mill, wanted to build a new castle style home for himself and the family, but after only building as far as the ground floor window sills abandoned the project. Now nearly 130 years later his work has been rediscovered. The National Trust, who own and manage the site, are working to record and interpret the find and its contents. Around 400 people throughout the area take part in educational, training, employment and leisure schemes to ensure they can live as independently as possible.
Left to right: Colm Murphy Volunteer , Tina Maguire, Day opportunity Support Worker , Roberta Brownlee, Southern Trust Chair, Barney O’ Hare National Trust , Sean Smyth Day, Opportunity Support Worker , Alyn Jones Alliance Youth

Left to right: Colm Murphy Volunteer , Tina Maguire, Day opportunity Support Worker , Roberta Brownlee, Southern Trust Chair, Barney O’ Hare National Trust , Sean Smyth Day, Opportunity Support Worker , Alyn Jones Alliance Youth

Miceal Crilly, Assistant Director for Disability Services for the Southern Trust explained, “Whilst we still have a number of day centres across the Trust which offer care and support for people with more complex health and support needs, our more independent clients want to lead normal lives, choosing and participating in their own everyday activities within their own communities. “We have great relationships with many local businesses and community and voluntary organisations like the National Trust at Derrymore, which help us to deliver a wide range of projects for our clients, for example conservation work, gym sessions, college courses, crafts, horticulture or catering. “I would like to congratulate all of our staff and clients on this amazing find, with their great determination and meticulous attention to detail in uncovering and preserving these ruins, they should be proud to share this fantastic piece of local history. He added, “Projects like this greatly benefit the health and wellbeing of our clients, giving them a sense of purpose, belonging and achievement and ensuring that they get the most out of life.” If you want to find out more about Day Opportunities contact Noreen McComiskey on Tel: 028 3883 3248 or email: noreen.mccomiskey@southerntrust.hscni.net

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