Council Chairperson Acknowledges Voluntary and Charity workers in Christmas Message
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey has highlighted what a privilege it has been to meet some of the district’s incredible, and often unsung heroes from charitable, voluntary and community organisations, in his Christmas message.
Councillor Casey said, “Since becoming Chairperson in June, it has been a pleasure to meet with our local charities and community organisations to find out more about the work they do. At Christmas time especially, it is heartwarming to know that there are so many people within our district who give up their time and energy to help others and make Newry, Mourne and Down a better place to live and work.
“The theme I have chosen for my year in office is #SupportingFamilies. I believe for each of us family is the most fundamental part of our lives – this is where we all find the love, trust and support that we need to make each day matter. When I came into the office of Chairperson, I also wanted to focus on one of the Council’s key strategic objectives – ‘To Empower and Improve on the Capacity of our Communities’. By working alongside my three chosen charities, Autism Families, Birthwise and Cuan Mhuire, we are making a significant contribution to achieving this objective and making life better for our communities. These charities are also very family focussed and they each make a real difference to people in the Newry, Mourne and Down area.
“On 6 December 2019, I hosted a reception to acknowledge the work charities in our entire district do to support families all year round. At the event I showcased the play, ‘Removed’ by Fionnuala Kennedy, which was inspired by interviews with young people growing up in care in Northern Ireland. The play portrays the message that life for many people is not perfect. At Christmas time people can feel lonely and there are a host of things that add to stress and difficult emotions during the holidays. It is important that this period is used to reflect upon the misfortune of others around us - our neighbours, the elderly, the sick or vulnerable, who perhaps are spending the festive period alone or in hardship. Please do what you can to extend the spirit of Christmas beyond your own home and into the lives of those who may need assistance or kindness in the coming weeks.
“Highlights of my journey as Chairperson so far have been the official opening of the much anticipated, state-of-the art Community Centre at Saintfield. The Council is investing in the district and putting focus on communities and their health and wellbeing through the creation of premier leisure and community facilities and new funded playparks for the enjoyment of our future generations.
“Reducing waste and increasing our recycling efforts is another major priority for the Council and I was delighted to officiate at the opening of the new state of the art Household Recycling “Centre (HRC) in Downpatrick. This is now the largest of the district’s 10 HRC sites and I hope this facility will encourage people to recycle more and this will reduce the costs of waste processing. The Council is committed to recycling and has invested a lot in ensuring our recycling rates are as high as possible across the district and I would really appreciate the efforts of our residents to help reduce waste over the festive period by using their brown bin.
“A scheme I am extremely proud of is the Council’s forward thinking, environmentally friendly initiative to provide sustainable Christmas trees in various locations throughout the district. This unique approach will see these trees grow along with their communities. It may take some years for the trees to reach their full potential, but the long term, environmental benefits will be apparent for years to come.
“Not only is Christmas an important time to remember our charity and health workers it’s also a really important time for our local businesses. Therefore, I want to urge everyone to shop local. The creativity of our business people and small producers has been on display in the numerous local fairs and artisanal markets. Not only will you be purchasing something special and one of a kind, but you will also be supporting the economic growth of our area.
“As we move forward into 2020 the Council will continue to grow and transform with our new Chief Executive, Marie Ward. I wish Marie every success in her new role and to former Chief Executive, Liam Hannaway, I wish him a very happy Christmas and New Year in the first year of his retirement.
“Finally, we should also remember with gratitude everyone who will be working over the holiday period, particularly those in our emergency services and hospitals and to them I extend sincerest wishes for a peaceful and happy festive period.
“On behalf of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, I would like to wish each and every one of you a joyful and peaceful Christmas and hope that the New Year will bring prosperity and health for us all.”