Fermanagh Rural Community Network held their Annual General Meeting and Celebrating Community Achievement Awards event in Rosslea Community Centre on Monday 21st October at 7.45pm

Louise McLaughlin Chairperson of FRCN welcomed the 75+ persons in attendance to what was the network’s 25th AGM and eighteenth time of holding their Celebrating Community Achievements Awards.

Bernie Smyth of the Community Centre Association gave an overview of the centre and how they deliver a wide range of social, educational and recreational activities for the benefit of those living in Roslea village and surrounding rural communities.

Barry Boyle, Network Co-ordinator gave an overview of the work of Fermanagh Rural Community Network over the past year as the Local Rural Support Network, providing practical and timely community developmental support and advice for groups throughout County Fermanagh.

The Guest Speakers; Michael Hughes, Head of Building Sustainable Communities with The Community Foundation gave a presentation on the foundations strategic priorities and grants programmes.

Anne Donaghey Assistant Director Pathfinder and Karen Meehan Transformation Programme Manager Western Health & Social Care Trust gave an update on the ‘Pathfinder’ initiative, and work planned over the coming months to develop and deliver initiatives on health and social care services. Further details are available on the website www.westerntrust.hscni.net/pathfinder

In the Celebrating Community Achievement Awards, winners were announced in the two categories ‘Local Community Activity’ and ‘An Individual Who Has Made a Difference’.

In the two categories a high number of quality nominations were submitted demonstrating the extensive level of community based voluntary activity taking place throughout rural County Fermanagh.

Local Community Activity was the first category to be announced.

In this category the scores awarded by the panel were very close.

The winning group was ‘The Club ‘Drop-In’ Facility OAK Healthy Living Centre

This activity which is delivered by a team of 9 volunteers to provide a weekly drop-in facility since 2012 for people who are living with addictions (mostly alcohol) and persons with mild mental health issues.

They are provided with tea & refreshments and social activities including boccia, pool, crosswords, etc,

A major element of the club is supporting these individuals and assisting them obtain support from other activities operated by OAK Healthy Living Centre and connecting them with other agencies such as the Housing Executive, Benefits advice and Professional Counselling.

On average 26-30 persons attend each week and a further 5 persons are visited in their homes and provided with food and support. In many instances this food is the main nutritious meal that these persons have had that week.

The volunteers who operate the service are from throughout the communities of Erne East and are in most instances involved in other aspects of community infrastructure and activity. The main motivation in establishing this service was recognition of the lack of an addiction service in this rural area and in response to a number of suicides in Lisnaskea and surrounding area. These volunteers have undertaken substantial training on mental health and addiction to ensure that they are equipped to deal with the participants in a dignified, compassionate and confidential manner.

It was noted that without the work of this dedicated team of volunteers ‘the vulnerable participants would be without the vital services being delivered in a local accessible venue that is helping them avoid loneliness, depression and neglect of their personal health & wellbeing’.

Certificates of Recognition

Certificates of Recognition were presented to all other groups who were nominated and included:

Annagh Social Farm CIC

This organisation provides a range of day activities for adults with learning disabilities through the social farming model with some of the recent work involving construction of a fruit maze and sensory garden. They have also hosted educational visits for children with special needs giving them an opportunity to learn about farming. The organisation involves a number of volunteers who use their skills to manage the organisation and provides activities. Annagh Social Farm has hosted visits from government ministers, politicians and policy makers showcasing how this model of working benefits people.

Trillick Arts & Cultural Society and Ballinamallard Historical Society

These two organisations who have been active in their individual communities have in past year collaborated on a PEACE IV funded project titled “ from Kilskeery to Magheracross’ in which they held a series of activities and lectures on the history and culture of these neighbouring communities in the 17th & 18th centuries. This is an excellent example of cross-community work creating

friendships and building positive relationships between unionist and nationalist communities.

Kinawley Brian Borus and Newtownbutler First Fermanaghs

These two GAA clubs have been nominated for there very successful Healthy Club project where they have delivered a range of activities to contribute to the health and wellbeing of their members and communities. A main part of this was the organised of A Step Up – Step Out Challenge in which over 1200 people participated from across both communities and with the pedometer provided it was noted that average step count went up from 8000 per week to 12500 per week. Through the programme of exercise programmes, workshops and courses offered ensured that there was active participation across the communities of Newtownbutler & Kinawley and by all age groups from children through to grandparents.

Carrowshee Park / Sylvan Hill Community Association

This association have been very active in their community providing activities for all age groups from children through to older people throughout the year including Homework Clubs, Youth Clubs, Summer Schemes, Educational Programmes, Essential Skills Courses, 20-10 Older peoples club. Most Activities are provided at no or reduced charge so that the families of the area have the opportunity to participate in what is a local accessible venue. Association are now working to secure funding to build a new centre to expand range of activities.

Cashel Community Association

This group representing the rural community of Cashel have worked for many years to provide facilities and activities for their community and have been nominated for the increased range of activities that they are delivering at Cashel Community Centre which was extended and modernised in a project costing over £300,000 was funded by a number of funders with the majority coming from Big Lottery Space & Place.

Coa Community Group

Coa Community Group represents the townlands centered on the Coa area, with members of the association being drawn from throughout the community living in this rural area. The group operate a community facility known as Coa Community Hall, this building opened in 1987 and since then has very well used by members of the local community and visitors to the area for a range of social, recreational and educational activities. The group has very active participation by all age groups in the community with may people volunteering their time to help set up and organize activities. Current activities include Pilates, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Bowling, Quizzes, Treasure Hunts, Funeral Teas etc.,

Tamlaght Women’s Institute

This group celebrated their 75th Anniversary this year and although they may not be big in number they play a very important role inn their community through organising activities for their members and the local community in their hall where people meet, learn new skills and make new friendships.

Cashel Senior Citizens Club

This club meets twice a month in Cashel Community Centre and have been providing the opportunity over the past 25 years for the more senior members of the community to meet together in a safe and friendly location taking part in a range of social, recreational and educational activities.

Trendsetters (Age Concern) Irvinestown

This club are celebrating their 25th Anniversary and recently had an Anniversary Afternoon Tea on 18th September; the group meet weekly in the Bawnacre Centre for Lunch and Afternoon activities. This group have worked over past 25 years to secure funding and resources to operate the club and provide a range of activities and they are definitely not afraid to go a seek funding and support.

Kesh Evergreens Senior Citizens Club

This club are operating for a long number of years I their words encouraging older people from 55 to 90 the opportunity to get involved in activities and meet people, creating friendships alleviating loneliness. Along with weekly activities an extensive programme of outings and other activities such as walks & tea dances are organised.

Boho Mother & Toddlers Group

This group of which it was noted includes some fathers meet every Wednesday morning to provide a place where parents can meet, have a chat, cup of tea and allow their babies and toddlers play in a safe and pleasant environment. This year they organised a very successful summer club for older children during the summer holidays.

Individuals who have made a difference

In this category there were a good number of nominations demonstrating that there are a great number of Individuals contributing significant amounts of Voluntary time and effort to make a difference in their local communities.

The persons judging the nominations had a tough task in selecting a winner and indeed all those nominated are individuals whose contribution to the community deserves recognition.

This was the ninth year in which Fermanagh Rural Community Network presented the cup, which they commissioned in memory of one of their founding members Gabriel D’Arcy who passed away in October 2011.

FRCN were very grateful that Gabriel’s family were represented by his son Gerald who presented the cup to the winner Jennifer Bullock of Annagh Social Farm

Jennifer was nominated for her work in founding Annagh Social Farm CIC as an organisation that is providing activities for persons with learning disabilities through a social farm model including fruit maze, sensory gardens, outdoor classrooms,

It was noted that Jennifer has worked tirelessly using her skills to ensure that activities delivered are meaningful to persons with learning disabilities and tailored to the correct skill level so that everyone succeeds and feels a great sense of self-worth.

It was highlighted that Jennifer is a great motivator and ensures that everyone is involved and a valued member of the team involved in delivering activities with their individual skills and abilities are fully utilised.

It was also stated that Jennifer has given of her time to assist churches and other services with developing training on adult safeguarding and services for adults with learning disabilities.

Certificates of Recognition were presented to all those other nominated Individuals Who are Making a Difference in their local communities. These persons were all worthy of their efforts being celebrated and recognised.

Anne Leonard, Boho Community Association

It has been noted that while this person only joined the group in past two years she has already made a significant contribution, taking on the task of taking bookings and being the main keyholder, her willingness to take on duties is a great encouragement to others.

Maureen Swift, Trendsetters (Age Concern), Irvinestown

Maureen has been nominated for her work with this group over past 20 years including being assistant secretary for past 5 years. It has been noted that she has done an exceptional job in sorting and collating 25 years of photographs, press cuttings, awards etc for display at the group’s 25th anniversary.

Maureen also involves herself in many other community and voluntary groups helping those in need.

Moya McSwiggan, Fermanagh Community Transport

Moya has been nominated for her work as a volunteer driver in which she transports hundreds of members who are among the most isolated, excluded and vulnerable individuals ion the county ensuring they can access and participate in activities that are making a big difference to their lives.

Margaret Keaney, Cashel

Margaret has been nominated for her work as carer in the rural community of Cashel and it has been noted that she goes over and above what is expected of her in this role, delivering an essential service to those living alone in need of care and communication.

Patricia Moohan, Coa Community Group

Patricia has been nominated for her ever-present role in the work of Coa Community Group fro the very beginning over thirty years ago. Patricia it has been noted has served as secretary of the bowling club for over 25 years organising very successful competitions. Patricia has organised dances that are attended by people from all over Fermanagh, Tyrone and further afield, the group nominated her, as they want her to know how much they appreciate all she does.

Majella Curran, Carrowshee Park / Sylvan Hill Community Association

Majella has been nominated for her work in volunteering with the association ad her willingness to help at all times and work to promote the work of Carrosyl far and wide. Majella also gives of her time to help a number of other groups in the Lisnaskea community.

Mary Brady, Carrowshee Park / Sylvan Hill Community Association

Mary has been nominated for her work as a volunteer with the group since 2001 in which she has held many roles, giving her time freely year after year, and it has been noted she is great person for recruiting participants to all activities.

Kathleen Breen, Carrowshee Park / Sylvan Hill Community Association

Kathleen has been nominated for her work in securing grants and resources to ensure that the association is in apposition to provide much needed activities and services. It was note that Kathleen puts in many hours of voluntary time and effort and she has a genuine care for the community and ensures that all members of the association are given the opportunity to have their say and be involved.

Sheila Mallaby, Lough Head Allotments, Lisnaskea

She has been nominated for her tireless work to promote, develop and maintain the Allotments at Lough Head Park in Lisnaskea.

Noel Dykes, Ballinamallard Fisher Park

Noel has been nominated for the work he has done on a voluntary basis over past 6 years in taking on board mantainance and care of 3G sports facility at Fisher Park.


Fermanagh Rural Community Network Board Members and staff thanked all those who attended the event, the Guest Speakers, Michael Hughes, The Community Foundation and Anne Donaghey and Karen Meehan of Western

Health & Social Care Trust, and gave a special word of thanks to the Roslea Community Centre Association for hosting what was a very successful and enjoyable event.