Community groups strengthened by Buttercrane bursaries

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Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
With the economic downturn of recent years, raising money within the community and voluntary sector has never been so difficult, so when Buttercrane Centre decided to award some Community Bursaries they were particularly welcome. One year on, Peter Murray, Buttercrane Centre Manager, has been suitably impressed to discover how the local groups have put the money to good use. The bursaries were awarded to support vital community work covering the categories of Health, Arts, Sports, and Environment. In the Health Category, St John Ambulance and PIPS Newry & Mourne received greatly appreciated funds. In the Arts category recipients were Dunnaman Children’s Centre in Kilkeel, The Young Ireland Fund, Newry, and St Mary’s Youth Club, Newry. The Ballybot Community Association in Newry received theirs under the Environment category. Finally, under the Sports Category bursaries went to Newry Fliers Basketball Team and Newry and Mourne Sub Aqua Club. The local St John Ambulance unit is the most recent group to put their Buttercrane Bursary into action for the benefit of everyone at events in the Newry and Mourne Area. They recently bought a brand new automatic external defibrillator and a trainer, with cases and adult and pediatric pads. This lifesaving equipment will now be put to good use on one St John Ambulance’s local Emergency Ambulances. PIPS (Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm) is a leading independent advocate in the Newry & Mourne area on all aspects of suicide, in order to reduce and prevent suicide and self-harm. It used the grant to take a group of ten recently bereaved mothers (who had lost a son or daughter in the last 18 months) along with a counsellor on a respite break. It helped form a strong support mechanism for the mothers who then developed friendships and now benefit from on-going visits and regular coffee mornings with each other. Other PIPS’ services include free professional counselling, befriending, mentoring, complementary therapies, information talks, training and education workshops, advice for carers including parents, family support, facilitating group meetings, conferences and seminars. Dunnaman Children’s Centre, a cross-community group set up by local parents in 1998 to provide the area with childcare and children’s facilities, used the bursary to help fund a cross-community mural as part of their summer scheme activities. Around fifty children took part in the project producing a mural so attractive it was displayed in the Buttercrane Centre when it was completed. This group is totally reliant on funding to remain open and runs a drop-in nursery, a pre-school, after-school club and summer scheme. The Young Ireland/Altnaveigh House Joint Committee’s grant from Buttercrane went towards erecting a garden monument, in John Mitchel Place, Newry on the 200th anniversary of John Martin’s birth. The Buttercrane Bursary was important as seed money to employ an architect to produce the project’s plans. The whole project required the support from nineteen local businesses. The joint committee is now focusing on the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Mitchel. St Mary’s Youth Club is based on a volunteer system that mainly offers sporting activities and dance. St Mary’s put the bursary to good use by putting a mirrored wall into a dance studio and improving the sound system. They now offer two sessions a week as dance numbers have increased as a result. The children learn more effectively with the mirrors and find it easier to learn routines. The space is now in constant use and a disco dancing competition is even in the pipeline. The Ballybot Community Group is a small group of volunteers that try to organise events for different age groups. They work closely with the local Southern Regional College and the local Regeneration Partnership. The plan is to use the Buttercrane Bursary to landscape and enhance a strip of land near Buttercrane Centre for the benefit of the public. The project is presently on hold as the land has to be cleared first and awaits permission to progress to the next stage. In the meantime, the group are hoping to include the children’s play park in the project if the group can secure more funding. Newry Fliers are a Basketball Club run voluntarily for children from 7 years to adults. They used the monetary award to start-up a new Under 12 boy’s team who entered the Basketball NI League for the first time. The money predominately bought the team its first ever team kit and covered some league fees. Prior to this, the team’s roster of twelve players had never competed or played basketball. The group reports that the initial coverage from the awarding of the Bursary helped recruit some fifteen new players to the club, both boys and girls, allowing them to consider an U14 team and a mixed Boy/Girl Primary team for next season, taking the club to six teams, more than ever before. Newry & Mourne Sub Aqua Club purchased a ‘sounder’ for the club’s boat with their bursary and is now fully in operation. They were also able to purchase life jackets and equipment for trainee divers. The club offers training in ocean diving, sports diving, dive leader and provide world-wide diving certificates for these courses through BSAC British Sub Aqua Club to anyone over the age of 18. The club is able to offer Newry & Mourne a search and rescue service. The members receive training in First Aid, CPR and basic life support skills on both land and sea. All members volunteer their services and time and they rely on donations, grants and membership fees to operate.
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