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Damask Community Outreach programme celebrates award win

Lisburn City’s Damask Community Outreach programme, which is based in Hilden, was honoured at the all-Ireland Pride of Place community awards.

The awards took place online due to the Covid pandemic with 6,000 people logging in from across Ireland to see community groups pick up gongs.

The Damask programme took top spot in the Community Youth Led Initiative with judges praising them for their “engagement with young people at the coalface on the streets of an estate. This was just one of the wonderful services provided by a far reaching programme delivering youth activities, training, confidence building and opportunity. The services are for all ages and backgrounds; the project is making a difference,” they said.

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Other Lisburn & Castlereagh Council based projects nominated were Aghalee Village Hall and BT16 Covid Response Group based in Ballybeen.

The Pride of Place competition was initiated 18 years ago though a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development.

President Michael D. Higgins, who is Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland with Queen Elizabeth, said: “The Pride of Place awards are a most important initiative, reminding us that creating societies that are ethical and inclusive is a task for all of our citizens, of all ages and circumstances.”

Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said; “These Awards continue to be as important as ever after all these years and the purpose of the awards has never changed. They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational tireless work being done by communities all over the Island of Ireland as they strive to make their place a better place in which to live.”