Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is supporting the Public Health Agency (PHA) call for asymptomatic people aged 18 to 40 in selected neighbourhoods within the Castlewellan area to come forward for COVID-19 testing.
This is a precautionary measure by the PHA, which has identified a number of probable cases of the Delta variant in areas of Castlewellan. These early results are suggestive of the variant, but this has not been confirmed.
Asymptomatic people aged 18-40 years old from selected, targeted neighbourhoods are being asked to get PCR tested, so the PHA can identify asymptomatic cases early and reduce the risk of spread in the community.
Those being asked to come forward for testing will be contacted by post from Friday 25 June. Testing is taking place at Castlewellan Community Centre between 9am and 3pm daily.
A booking will be required by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said, “It is important to act early, so we can all help to reduce any potential spread in our community.
“The Public Health Agency was delighted by the positive response when carrying out the recent enhanced testing operation in Kilkeel. The quick cooperation of residents there helped them in their critical work and played a part in helping to try to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
“If you receive a letter I would therefore appeal to you to come along and get tested, to do your bit to reduce the potential spread in your community.
“If you don’t receive a letter you don’t need to do anything else just now. However, I would remind everyone of the importance of continuing to follow the public health guidance to keep you and your loved ones safe. Keep washing your hands, keep socially distancing, wear a face covering where necessary and keep rooms well ventilated. And don’t forget to make and attend your vaccine appointment.
“Please remember if you do develop symptoms of COVID-19, you need to get a PCR tested, as you usually would.”
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.”