Cranfield Beach, outside Kilkeel, was launched during 2019 as the area’s first fully ‘Inclusive Beach’ thanks to work carried out by charity Mae Murray Foundation in partnership with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, and funding from Sport NI.
The Partnership Scheme saw the introduction and provision of equipment such as beach wheelchairs, floating chairs, beach walkers, changing bench and hoisting equipment for families and individuals who may have a range of differing abilities or need.
Equipment is available to borrow free of charge, and operates strictly on an advance booking basis, to avoid disappointment. This year it is essential, for those wishing to borrow equipment, to complete a short online safety briefing ahead of making bookings. The briefing will explain how the scheme works and what steps are being taken to reduce the risk of spread of Coronavirus.
Founder of the Mae Murray Foundation, Alix Crawford said, “Bookings can now be made for July and August and the key message this year is – please plan ahead. Simply go to our website and read the 6 step booking process. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are delighted to have partnered with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to introduce these facilities at Cranfield Beach and hope to see many people of all ages and abilities benefit.”
Alix continued, “There are many people, young and old, who have never felt sand running through their fingers or experienced the thrill of being in the sea, due to the inaccessibility of beaches. This initiative has brought together specialist mobility equipment along with personal care equipment that many people need. The scheme is also extended to organisations and groups – a great way to have a fun day out!”
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said, “I am delighted to hear of the experiences this fantastic project has produced since its launch. The Beach Equipment loan facilities at Cranfield Beach help provide true participation for all in leisure and social settings, regardless of age or ability. We are delighted to be working closely with Alix and the Mae Murray Foundation on this initiative.”
For further information regarding the specialist beach eqipment at Cranfield and the booking process please visit: www.maemurrayfoundation.org/projects/inclusive-beaches/
Ballyvea Football Club to Kick-off New Season with £360K Community Hub
Ballyvea Football Club in Kilkeel, Co.Down will be kicking off the new football season with a state of the art modern community hub following a grant of £270,000 from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) Rural Development Programme (RDP).
The official opening of the new community hub took place on Friday 23 July 2021, with Minister Poots visiting this week to see the facility and all it has to offer the local community. The hub will allow for the delivery of social and economic development activities aimed at addressing underachievement and social isolation, and marginalisation amongst young people and the elderly.
Welcoming the funding award and completion of the new building, Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots said: “I am delighted that Ballyvea Football Club were awarded £270,000 under the current Rural Development Programme to build a facility that will provide services and activities for the local rural community in Kilkeel.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers connected to the club, and all members of the Local Action Group, for the time they have given up to make great projects like this come alive, and I wish Ballyvea every success both on and off the field.”
Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said: “As Chair of the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership, I am delighted to see the completion of this impressive facility which has availed of Rural Development funding, provided by DAERA and the European Union. The volunteers involved in the Local Action Group continue to work tirelessly to ensure local decisions made by local representatives, bring high quality projects such as this to fruition.”
Trevor McConnell, Chairman of Ballyvea FC commented: “The financial support provided by DAERA, the European Union and the local council through the assistance of the Local Action Group has been instrumental in providing a high quality community hub that will provide a range of services to the local community. We are delighted to have worked closely with Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership to develop the project to provide such a vital facility for all rural dwellers and extend our gratitude to all they have done to assist us through the process.”
Councillor Cathy Mason, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council reflected on the project stating: “This is a fantastic example of how working in partnership can deliver a facility which is a real asset for the local area and will continue to be for many years to come. I would like to commend the Local Action Group and wish Ballyvea FC all the very best in their future endeavours.”
Training Opportunities for Rural Residents
Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA, today delivered an economic boost for rural residents in the Newry, Mourne & Down and Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Council areas when he launched the £65,000 Prosper + Project.
The Project, which has been developed in conjunction with the Southern Regional College (SRC), operates on the basis on two Strands. Strand one offers mentoring support and Strand two provides accredited training for economically inactive and low paid workers living within rural areas. DAERA has provided funding of £65,000 for the project, from the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme, while SRC meets the administration costs.
Minister Poots said: “Training opportunities are particularly hard to find in rural areas and the problem has been exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19. To this end Prosper is a big success story, delivering mentoring opportunities for 100 young people from rural post primary schools in Banbridge, Crossmaglen, Newtownhamilton and Tandragee areas engaged in the SRC Schools’ Partnership Programme and accredited training for a further 70 unemployed and low paid workers across the region.
“This project is an excellent example of DAERA working with other public sector bodies to deliver benefits for rural communities.”
Economy Minister Paul Frew added his support for the initiative. He said: “My Department is currently undertaking a consultation on a new Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland, ‘Skills for a 10x Economy’. One of the Strategy’s key objectives is to help those furthest from the workplace to re-engage with the labour market and so I very much welcome DAERA’s Prospect + Project, which provides opportunities to help people improve their skills and increase their employability.”