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Omagh shedding some light on good relations for Drumtara

Published: Tue, 13 Jun 2017
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Our Good Relations Officer Marilyn Giboney, Ernie Coburn from the Omagh Men’s Shed and our SW Area Manager Oonagh McAvinney helped welcome the Berries and Bloom allotment group.
Omagh Mens Shed
Omagh Men’s Shed welcomed members from Ballymena based ‘Berries and Blooms’ allotment group from Drumtara, Ballymena.
As part of a shared knowledge project, supported by us, the Omagh Men's Shedders received funding from our cohesion unit to purchase a steel framed poly tunnel and raised beds. The new equipment will help grow carrots, tomatoes, parsnips, potatoes, parsley, celery, turnips, leeks, beetroots and pumpkins.
The Berries and Bloom allotment group from Drumtara got the opportunity to see and hear how the Omagh workshop was created, and how the Old Market Place based initiative has benefitted the local community through the Shedders’ craftsmanship.
A further visit is planned for the Omagh Men’s Shedders to visit Drumtara to learn about their environmental growing at their allotments and how these activities promote health and wellbeing.
The Berries and Bloom allotment group from Drumtara is based in Ballymena and is made up of residents from the Ballee and Drumtara areas.
The Men’s Shed is a project for men to share skills, socialise and connect with the wider community. It is a place for members to be themselves, a place to work at their own pace, a place to exchange ideas and learn, a place to support each other and build friendships.
Members of the Berries and Bloom allotment group and the Omagh’s Men Shed, alongside our SW Area Manager Oonagh McAvinney and Good Relations Officer Marilyn Giboney.
Omagh Mens Shed group
Our South West Area Manager Oonagh McAvinney said:
“The Housing Executive provided over £2,500 worth of funding for the Omagh Men’s Shed to purchase a poly tunnel and raised beds to produce vegetables that can be used or sold to the local community. We are pleased with the results so far and look forward to further initiatives from the Omagh shedders.
“The Men’s Shed allows the sharing of ideas on how an environmental and workshop setting can help foster positive, good relations and contribute to the health and wellbeing of men from the local community. The visit and reciprocal meeting between the Omagh Shedders and their Drumtara colleagues are very encouraging and have already forged lasting friendships.
“The Housing Executive aims to foster vibrant communities and Omagh Men’s Shed have been a shining example for the local community in relation to the benefits of strong, community cohesion between residents. We look forward to the meeting of the Omagh Men’s Shedders and their colleagues from Drumtara.
Ernie Coburn, from the Omagh Men’s Shed added:
“The Men’s Shed concept brings people together from different areas to share mutual learning and promote respect for each other. It aims to help those who have been marginalised from their communities due to health or ageing to find their worth again within their local community.
“We have worked extremely hard with our new poly tunnel and raised beds funded by the Housing Executive to create products that can be of great benefit to the local community. To be able to provide vegetables to our neighbours and friends to encourage a healthy lifestyle is extremely rewarding.
“The upskilling of our volunteers and the renewed sense of purposed created by the Men’s Shed has definitely increased the health and wellbeing of our volunteers.
“The friendships already created by the visit by the Berries and Blooms allotment team from Drumtara will remain, and our volunteers are already looking forward to the trip to Ballymena to share ideas and experiences to provide a positive impact to the local community.
Terry Balmer from the Berries and Bloom allotment team concluded:
“This project with our colleagues from Omagh is about sharing and learning another’s approach in developing a Men’s Shed and its impact on health and wellbeing.
“Our organisation is cross community and is certainly one of the most appealing factors for those involved. It is an excellent way of promoting good relations, as well as upskilling those volunteers. We received an insight into how a self-sufficient allotment no only benefits the volunteers but also the wider community.
“The hospitality shown by Omagh Men’s Shed has only further enhanced our determination to continue in promoting health and wellbeing for the greater Drumtara community.