Derry City and Strabane District Council is one of a number of local organisations that has signed up to the NI Asymptomatic Testing Programme for its staff.
The programme, which will be rolled out shortly, is the result of a call out from the Department of Health working with local organisations and employers across Northern Ireland to help support them in expanding the testing programme.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Brian Tierney as welcomed the welcoming the proactive approach by Council in taking part in the scheme. He said: “There is strong evidence to show that those affected with COVID can have no symptoms yet continue to transmit the virus to others without being aware. For that reason it is important we as a Council take the lead in terms of offering asymptomatic testing to our staff to help identify cases quickly so that they can contact their close contacts to self-isolate and ultimately help break the chain of transmission.”
Encouraging other workforces across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area to also sign up for the Workforce Testing programme, the Mayor explained that it is available to any organisation with more than 10 employees and businesses can register via an online expression of interest – www.health-ni.gov.uk/workforce-testing.
The Mayor added that the Community Testing programme while its aimed at ensuring organisations with fewer than 10 employees can access tests, it is not intended as a mass testing initiative but supports access to testing for those whose role brings them into close proximity with work colleagues or members of the public. Urging small business and those working from home to access the tests, the Mayor explained that the tests can be availed via the local community testing site at Ulster University Magee campus. They can avail of testing free of charge via the following links –
- Find a local site to be tested at
- Find a local site to collect LFDs to perform at home
- Ordering LFDs for delivery to your home address
Encouraging everyone to continue to do all they can to prevent the spread of COVID 19, Mayor Tierney said as restrictions start to reduce and more facilities and services reopen, its more important than ever to adhere to social distancing measures, good hand hygiene and the wearing of face masks. Participation in the community testing initiative and availing of your vaccination is also vitally important in the battle against COVID, he added.
“We have done so much to date and made so many sacrifices to protect each other. Lets just go that extra mile over the weeks and months ahead and do all we can to keep each other safe and reduce the spread of the virus.”
Advice and Support Available as Part of Alcohol Awareness Week
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, has said being aware of recommended limits and the effects of alcohol, and education around the potential dangers of alcohol, is extremely important.
The message comes as part of Alcohol Awareness Week, which takes place from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th June. It is supported by the Public Health Agency and the five Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams and centres around encouraging people to take a closer look at their drinking habits by counting their units to see if they’re staying within the recommended weekly limits.
Mayor Warke said that taking some time to evaluate personal alcohol consumption is recommended.
“Many people like to enjoy alcohol in moderation, but sometimes it can be very easy to find yourself consuming more than is recommended without even realising.
“This can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health, so it’s hugely important that everyone consuming alcohol is aware of the legal age, the recommended limits and is checking in on how that measures up with their own habits.
“The stresses and challenges of the past 16 months, and how much we have all been staying at home, may have led to some people drinking more alcohol than they typically would have before, so Alcohol Awareness Week this year is a particularly good opportunity to pick up a few helpful tips on how you can make small changes that will have a big difference in ensuring you can enjoy alcohol safely and in moderation.”
Further Regeneration of St Columb’s Park En Route
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced investment of almost £230,000 for a regeneration project designed to replace a pedestrian entrance and to improve car parking facilities into St Columb’s Park.
An investment of £183,535 from the Department for Communities, £25,000 from the Executive Office and £21,160 from Derry City and Strabane District Council will enable the improvements to commence.
This funding package will see the creation of a new pedestrian entrance opposite the Peace Tree, giving better and safer access/egress to St Columb’s Park from Ebrington Estate and wider links to the Waterside and City Centre. The car park will be resurfaced, reconfigured and realigned allowing for disabled parking and will include ramps, a new pedestrian pathway linking the car park to the new entrance and new crossing points. Soft landscaping will further enhance the area with the planting of hedging and trees.
Minister Hargey said: “I am delighted to announce this funding which will progress and complement the continued regeneration of St Columb’s Park. This project will enhance this stunning public amenity providing a safer, welcoming space for wellbeing, where we can walk, cycle and enjoy the extensive green space benefiting both the local community and visitors to the area.
“My Department continues to support our town and city centres recover from the impacts of Covid-19 and with increased usage over the past year it is more important than ever to invest in our cities green spaces.”
Welcoming the news, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney said: “I very much welcome the announcement of this funding which will enable us to finish works at the gateway to our beautiful St Columb’s Park, complementing the landscaping already completed on the Avenue. It will make accessing the park easier and more visually attractive for local people and visitors alike.
“Council continues to prioritise and invest in green space provision across the City and District and to identify opportunities to develop and enhance our green infrastructure to benefit the health, wellbeing and convenience of everyone. I want to thank our partners in the Department and The Executive Office, and commend everyone involved in the fantastic work on this project to date.”
This project has been jointly developed by The Executive Office and Derry City and Strabane District Council. The project will be managed by the Council who have already successfully completed a number of public realm projects in this beautiful park.