The streets of Downpatrick have been brought to life over the last few weeks, thanks to funding from the Housing Executive.
Downpatrick Community Collective, and six of its member groups, were awarded £982.71 from the Housing Executive’s COVID19 Response Fund, which they used to tackle social isolation issues among residents through live entertainment and by brightening up the town with floral displays.
Entertainment included a live singer, a flame juggler, a clown and a young Viking, who passed through the streets, allowing residents to sing, dance and enjoy the musical extravaganza from the safety of their doorstep.
Pot plants were provided to over 500 people to promote the health & wellbeing benefits of gardening, as well as improving the physical appearance of estates with hanging baskets and planted half whiskey barrels.
The groups also hosted a range of local fun activities that were socially distanced, including street bingo and armchair aerobics.
Dan McEvoy, Chairperson Downpatrick Community Collective said: “The COVID19 response funding has brought enormous joy to many residents living within the Downpatrick town area.
“Through our community support project we have tackled social isolation issues amongst our residents, in particular those older and more vulnerable people.
“Although coordinated through the Collective, all groups have been proactive in getting their communities involved in what has been a community driven success for everyone.”
Local resident, Rita Rogan from Marian Park was delighted with the project: "It was fantastic to enjoy a visit from the Collective with the music trailer, flame juggler and clown.
“For weeks we have been housebound and their visit brightened up our evenings. It was all done whilst adhering to social distancing; my family stayed safely in our garden and had a full view of the entertainment. Fantastic, funding well spent."
Pemberton Park resident, Jacqueline Trainor added: "The community support project was brilliant and being an older person I was delighted to have this at my front door.
“Volunteers managed the traffic. Well done to everyone involved, fantastic community spirit and brought a smile to our faces, something we really needed, thanks."
Denise Conlon, Head of Communities at the Housing Executive, said; “Community groups across Northern Ireland have made incredible efforts to ensure they are assisting the most vulnerable throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period.
“As an organisation, we have been so proud to have been able to provide support to their amazing activities through our Covid-19 Response Fund and we commend them for their work.”