Successful regeneration body to mark anniversary

Successful regeneration body to mark anniversary

8 November 2017

THE chairman of Castlewellan Regeneration Limited has highlighted the need for the organisation to continue moving with the times and meet the needs of the community wherever possible.

At the group’s annual meeting last week, Eamonn O’Neill said the past 12 months had been busy with many financial and management difficulties for an organisation which next year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

He said since its inception, Castlewellan Regeneration has tried to address the various needs within the community, needs he explained that are constantly changing.

“It is therefore vital that we as an organisation continue to move with the times and meet the needs of our community wherever possible. However, funding is not as accessible as it once was, but we continue to do the best we can with the limited funding available to us,” Mr O’Neill told the meeting.

He thanked the directors for their hard work over the past year, explaining many changes took place during this time, with some of the organisation’s founding directors retiring.

Mr O’Neill paid special tribute to his fellow directors Jean King, Sam Brannigan and Terry O’Reilly for their work and commitment and said with Castlewellan Regeneration 25 years in operation next March, it is hoped to mark and celebrate its achievements.

Turning to financial matters, the group’s chairman said many will be aware of the major changes to the local council structure, explaining the organisation has only received £1,100 in Christmas funding from Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

Mr O’Neill said the cash will be used to decorate a number of lampposts and provide some entertainment to coincide with the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights. On a more positive note, he reported the local authority has agreed to provide a Christmas tree at Upper Square for this year only.

The regeneration chairman said he hopes that in future the local authority may agree to take responsibility for Castlewellan’s entire festive lighting programme, just as it does in Newcastle, Ballynahinch and Downpatrick.

“On a more general front, we have continued to work in partnership with the Comhaltas and I would like to compliment them on their outstanding work over the past year. Thanks also to the SOMA group who enriched our town with music and culture over the summer,” continued Mr O’Neill.

He said the Tuesday Club continues to grow in numbers and provides an excellent community service, especially for those living in social and rural isolation. Mr O’Neill said many firm friendships have been made and reported that Castlewellan Regeneration joined with the Tuesday Club over the past year to organise a number of fundraising events.

He said a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan raised £140, with a Halloween coffee morning in aid of the new Air Ambulance raising £458. while Castlewellan Regeneration secured a micro grant from the Co Down Rural Community Network.

Mr O’Neill told the annual meeting that the challenge for businesses and traders to remain economically solvent remains, encouraging people to shop local and support the business community at what he described as a “difficult time.”

The regeneration official said there was an increase in the number of people using The Lodge building over the past 12 months, with the facility now accommodating a number of new users including Castlewellan Show Committee.

“The relocation of the doctors’ surgery to the Corncrane Building has been a great success and we continue to work closely with the Donard Practice. We hope in the coming year to keep up and strengthen our ethos of helping to promote the town and district of Castlewellan to encourage economic, environmental and social growth, to participate in partnerships with others for the benefits of our people,” added Mr O’Neill.