The Fermanagh Rural Community Network (FRCN) held its Annual General Meeting (AGA) and Celebrating Community Achievement Awards via a Zoom online meeting on Monday October 18th.
Louise McLaughlin, President of FRCN, welcomed the 50+ people present by Zoom to what was the network’s 27th AGM and the 20th Celebration of Community Achievement.
Barry Boyle, Network Coordinator, gave an overview of FRCN’s work over the past year as a local rural support network, offering community development support activities to benefit and support rural communities in County Fermanagh during a difficult year, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on community organizations and society in general.
Guest speaker Veronica Morris, Executive Director of Rural Support, gave a comprehensive presentation of the support programs offered by their organization to farmers and farm family members. Further details on the support available are available on the website: www.ruralsupport.org. UK
2021 Community Excellence Awards Celebration
At the 2021 Celebrating Community Achievement Awards, winners were announced in the two categories “Local Community Activity” and “Someone Who Made a Difference”.
In both categories there were several applications demonstrating the extensive level of community volunteer activity taking place throughout rural County Fermanagh.
Local community activity was the first category to be announced with ‘The Courthouse Kesh Limited’ named as the winning group.
This group was named for their success in developing and operating a community service center specially designed to meet the needs of the people of their village and the surrounding vast rural area.
This project involved several years of planning, from identifying the initial need, through securing a site in the village of Kesh and funding until the opening of the “Courthouse” in October 2019.
The services provided at this community hub include a food bank, friendship and support activities, addiction services, family support, health and wellness activities.
The center also includes a cafe open to locals and visitors with information for tourists and those wishing to research their family history.
The center also provides volunteer opportunities for local people who can help out in the cafe by helping them overcome loneliness and isolation by meeting other people and taking advantage of the services offered.
The efforts of this group have enabled the Courthouse to become a hub for the community of Kesh, providing much-needed services and activities.
Other groups nominated for their local community activity included:
Derrylin Dramatic Society
This group has been operating for several years and undertakes work in the fields of theater, music, song and dance within their community.
Magheraveely Community Development Association
This association has been active for several years in their village and has endeavored to obtain a site and funding for community equipment; this saw the opening of the “Sunshine Cabin” in June 2021.
Group of Boho Seniors
This group has been operating for several years within the Boho community hall and during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has adapted its activities by distributing health and well-being packs to more than thirty people at Christmas 2020 and at Easter 2021, so that senior members of the local community received materials that helped them cope with isolation and lack of social activities.
People who made the difference
In this category, there have been several nominations recognizing individuals who have dedicated a great deal of volunteer time and effort to make a difference in their local communities.
Those responsible for judging the nominations had a difficult task in selecting a winner and indeed all nominees are individuals whose contribution to their community deserves to be recognized. This is the eleventh year that FRCN has presented the cup, which was commissioned in memory of one of the founding members Gabriel D’Arcy who died in October 2011.
The winner of the Gabriel D’Arcy Perpetual Cup was Gretta Famer from Boho.
Gretta was nominated for her many years of community service to her local rural Boho community, being a founding member of several local associations including Boho Women’s Group and Bo Peeps Playgroup, leading to the provision of a range of facilities and services. , including community hall, playgroup, play park, sports field.
Gretta has served as the Treasurer of the Boho Community Association for many years, devoting countless hours to fundraising, applying for grants, and securing the finances of the community association.
It was noted in the application that Gretta was never a person to stand still and that her efforts serve as an example to all of how you can make a positive difference in the lives of local families and individuals and that the community of Boho is a much richer place thanks to a lifetime of volunteering undertaken by Gretta: countless children have benefited from preschool education thanks to her work in creating a daycare recognized by the Inspectorate of the ‘Education; many women made new friends, gained new skills and experiences; and the wider Boho community have benefited from the range of facilities and services that are now available and provided by the former Tullyholvin National School. The following people have been nominated for the positive difference they are making in their local communities.
Gerry Collum – Cashel
Gerry was nominated for his active role in the local community of Cashel as a community center caretaker since 1993, church caretaker, delivering meals, and general handyman doing odd jobs for many seniors.
Aine McGahey – Boho Youth Club
Aine was nominated for her work in leading the creation of a youth club in Boho, with a committee being formed and funding secured for events held during the summer for young people to engage in outdoor activities, with other plans underway for indoor activities
Tony McAvinney – Magheraveely Community Development Association
Tony was nominated for his volunteer community work for the village and the people of Magheraveely knowing that since Tony returned to the village about eight years ago he immediately got involved in community life and is known as the name of “The Great Motivator is his enthusiasm for getting things done and involving others, the opening of the Sunshine Cabin being a special demonstration of his leadership.
Marion Parker – Women as one
Marion was nominated for her work with the Women as One group which normally operates out of the Belcoo Healthy Living Center, and it was noted that Marion deserves to be recognized for her efforts to keep the group active during Covid-19. .
Joan Rice – Fermanagh Stroke Support Group
Joan has been nominated for her endless hours of volunteer service with this group since 2014, helping organize activities for the Stroke Survivors Tuesday Club, working in the Stroke Shop, organizing trips, arts and crafts classes. and social outings for group members.
Caroline Nicholson – Bellanaleck Community Group
Caroline was nominated for her work in the local community, including serving as a member of the Bellanaleck Community Group, the Bellanaleck Local History Group, and as a volunteer with the National Trust.