Pair start forum for Killyleagh residents

Pair start forum for Killyleagh residents

25 March 2020

A NEW community forum has been launched on social media to assist people in Killyleagh through the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been launched by residents Matthew McMaster and Lorna McCormick and is specifically designed to help the elderly and those in need at this particularly worrying time.

Launched last week, the Facebook page secured 300 followers in just 48 hours with Matthew and Lorna delighted with the support they have received from the Killyleagh Community Association and Rowallane councillors Billy Walker and Terry Andrews.

Given the number of elderly people in the town — many of whom are voluntarily self-isolating in line with government advice — Matthew and Lorna said the social media page is designed to provide updates and a forum for people to interact and ask questions.

It can even be used by relatives of the elderly and vulnerable to ascertain what shops have bread and milk in stock.

“Lorna and I realised that there was nothing in the Killyleagh area for people as the coronavirus pandemic continues and we wanted to help the elderly and vulnerable in particular,” Matthew explained.

“The forum can be used to let us know people who may feeling unwell or need help with their shopping. It is about providing people in the Killyleagh area with a voice. 

“In the wake of major issues like the pandemic, various committees are often established, but sometimes the voice of the people is not always heard. That’s why decided to set up the forum.”

Matthew suggested that at times like this, the main focus for help tends to be on major towns, like Downpatrick, Newcastle and Ballynahinch.

“We heard about some people going to the Asda store in Downpatrick to discover that there was no bread or milk. If this information had been posted on the Facebook page it would have been really useful,” he continued.

“We have a high elderly population in Killyleagh and while they may not all be on social media, their relatives will be, so they can tell them what is going and also post any questions that they may have.”

Matthew said some elderly people will not have any relatives living locally, highlighting the need to look after them in the weeks and months ahead.

“It is important that these particular people are not neglected and there are those who can help,” he explained. “It is important that they are not neglected at this time. We were amazed that within 48 hours of launching the Facebook page it secured 300 followers. That’s almost half the town’s population.”

Matthew also highlighted the importance of shopping locally in the current climate. He said that while many people tend to gravitate towards the larger supermarkets, smaller stores have the same range of goods.

“I would encourage people to shop locally as best they can and Lorna and I also recognise that when it comes to helping the elderly, many of them are fiercely independent and don’t want to be lifted and laid. They want to get out and about themselves.

“However, the current advice says that they should not be doing this and we believe that the new forum can assist them and their families.”

Matthew and Lorna are both encouraging people to make use of the new social media forum and are pleased to be working alongside the Killyleagh Community Association.

“We joined forces with one another as we felt there had not been much of a response to the coronavirus issue in Killyleagh,” said Matthew. 

“I contacted Lorna and she was delighted to come on board. We also both take it in turns to manage the page. The fact that we had 300 responses in 48 hours to the social media forum highlights the real need for this.”

Matthew added: “All we are doing is giving the people of Killyleagh a voice at this critically important time. Lorna and I are passionate about helping others, especially the elderly who are deeply concerned and anxious at this time. We want to do all we can to help people cope.”

The address of he new Facebook page is