There has been a large community effort by the Fivemiletown Coronavirus response group to bring festive cheer to the Clogher Valley with festive goodie bags and Christmas cheer aplenty.

Group Co-Ordinator of Fivemiletown Coronavirus Response Group Iain Lendrum said: “It has been an extremely busy few weeks in the build up to Christmas as we continue to support our community through the second wave of the pandemic. While still maintaining the foodbank and shop deliveries we felt that we could do some more to bring a little bit of Christmas cheers to the community.

“On Saturday (December 12), we delivered festive goodie bags and personalised Christmas cards to over 200 households within the community who housed over 70s. The volunteers were well received on the door steps as they renewed old friendships made throughout the year. Many members of our community have been isolating and they were delighted to see a friendly face for a doorstep chat.”

Iain Lendrum explained that as a group they received a number of grants with some of the funding allocated towards covering travel expenses for house deliveries. Every member of the group refused this expense money and it was held in a pot until it was decided what to do with it.

The volunteers decided that they wanted to give all the shop workers who worked during the first lockdown a thank you for their efforts. This included over 80 staff who worked in our local grocery shops, hardware store, chemist, and bank. While most people were able to stay at home they put themselves on the front line for mostly minimum wage. The group decided to give them a £10 voucher for the three cafés’ in the town who had to close due to the recent lockdown.

The Fivemiletown Coronavirus Response group have also been working to bring Christmas cheer to the primary school children in the area.

Mr Lendrum said: “With over 300 local primary school kids preparing for Christmas our group decided to give each child a personalised letter from Santa and a present. We thought it would be great again to use a local small business.

"Every child got a Jumping Clay pack which included an online tutorial from owner Tanya Trimble on how to make their very own Christmas Tree decorations. We felt this would give both parents and kids an activity they could do together over the festive period.”

There kindness had been extended to the local business community also Mr Lendrum explained: “Lastly we delivered over 75 personalised Christmas cards to all the local businesses and community groups who supported us over the last 10 months of the pandemic. The financial support we receive from our community has been an inspiration to all our volunteers. This was our way of saying thank you and we encourage everyone to continue to support our local businesses.”

He added “ The local businesses have been fantastic and they are the life blood of our community”.