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Pleasant park scene in Belfast

Down & Dromore Mothers' Union Assists Community Initiatives

Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Down & Dromore Assists Community Initiatives in East Belfast

27 Aug 2020
Down & Dromore Mothers’ Union has joined forces with other community agents to help run a weekly mini-bootcamp and packed lunch giveaway. Working with Mount Merrion Church, and Active Belfast, they have ensured the provision of fun activities in the middle of the Cregagh estate, Belfast.

Pre-pandemic beginnings

Since mid 2019, before coronavirus was even heard of, Mount Merrion Church had been planning a ‘Grub Club’. This was aimed at tackling holiday hunger by providing hot meals twice a week to local children and their families over the Easter and summer holidays.
Unfortunately, virus related restrictions meant these plans could not happen. The concept was adapted, however, and in mid July 2020 the first mini-bootcamp and packed lunch giveaway took place on the green area in the middle of the estate.

Involvement of Active Belfast

This initiative has attracted support from Active Belfast, who provided funding for the development and production of exercise stop signs that were placed around the park. Additionally, these markers were made available to local primary schools for use in their daily mile exercise programmes. Through Active Belfast’s involvement, the church was also able to give away fruit to those in the local community.
Three sports coaches, Carl Green from Peninsula Fitness Bootcamps and local volunteers Rachel Colligan and Rachel Warnock, helped run the bootcamp which was attended by about twenty-five adults and children of all abilities. Carl from Peninsula Fitness Bootcamps said the following:
 “We believe active people are happy people and we are committed to building healthier, stronger communities. Our involvement in the daily mile challenge in the Cregagh estate has been to create a selection of bodyweight exercises for children to participate in while on their one-mile route. These exercises will help children build natural fitness and promote outdoor adventures.”

The role of Mothers’ Union

The Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Down and Dromore had planned to get involved with the original ‘Grub Club’ by providing a team to prepare and serve the meals. They also wanted to support the initiative financially through their “Mums in May” fund. This fund awards grants to support projects in communities across the country. Clare Stewart, Action and Outreach Coordinator, said:
“One of our objectives as a Mothers’ Union is to promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children, so when we heard about the Grub Club project which Revd Adrian was planning we were very keen to support the project in every way we could.”

Adapting to change

When the plans had to change due to the escalating coronavirus situation, the Mothers’ Union were quick to adapt. They offered their support in providing a packed-lunch give-away instead. Roberta Macartney, Mothers’ Union Diocesan President highlighted the role of community support:
“Mothers’ Union in action is about seeing a need and supporting those better placed in the community to fulfil it. We are able through our ‘Mum’s in May’ grant to be able to supply food for this worthwhile project. Mothers’ Union are delighted to support Mount Merrion Church with this initiative and look forward to helping in whatever way we can. We wish Revd Green and his team every blessing as they undertake this worthwhile project.”

If you want to learn more about Mothers’ Union in Down & Dromore you can visit their page on our main website here.


Cover photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash