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A programme designed to directly help people within the district who are, more than ever, struggling to provide food for their families or gifts for their children due to the impact of Covid19 has proved a tremendous success.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, together with the local and Community and Voluntary Sector partnered with Norbrook Laboratories Ltd and their employees in recent weeks to assist in the roll-out of their We Care @ Christmas campaign.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin (centre), Council Chief Executive, Marie Ward (right) and HR Director at Norbrook Laboratories Ltd, Denise Collins (left) with just some of the hundreds of hampers that have been distributed to people within the district who are struggling to provide food for their families or gifts for their children due to the impact of Covid19.

The programme involved Norbrook Laboratories Ltd employees preparing 2,040 individual meals and over 1,200 food, toy and wellbeing hampers. The meals were freshly prepared by Norbrook’s own canteen staff weekly and collected by the Council’s Community Services team for distribution through the district’s Community and Voluntary sector network. Norbrook employees also, through their own generous donations, took time out of their busy schedule to compile over 600 food hampers and over 300 toy gift bags which have since been distributed through the district’s Community and Voluntary sector network. In addition, over 300 wellbeing packs will also be distributed to front line staff in Daisy Hill Hospital and Southern Area Hospice as a thank you for their ongoing efforts throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Norbrook Laboratories Ltd Stephen Brothers preparing meals for the community
Norbrook Laboratories Ltd Stephen Brothers preparing meals for the community

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin thanked Norbrook for their intitiative. Cllr Devlin said, “The impact of COVID 19 on our economy and communities has been unprecedented and more than ever people are struggling to provide food for their families or gifts for their children. A programme like this highlights the generosity and good that exists in the district. The business and community sectors across the district have always been very active in supporting local communities. This act of generosity follows the delivery of the Community Co-ordination Hub as first response to Covid19 which saw the distribution of over 18,000 food parcels in the district earlier this year.”

 Speaking on how the company was also focusing on employee wellbeing HR Director at Norbrook Laboratories Ltd, Denise Collins commented, “At the heart of Norbrook’s We Care @ Christmas campaign was a focus on supporting local business and recognising their employees for their commitment during this unprecedented year. We were delighted to partner with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to support our community in this unprecedented year.

Our campaign this year was focused on employee wellbeing and community support. Every employee received a locally sourced food hamper, a wellbeing gift pack, and vouchers for a locally owned supermarket. Additionally, employees received a Christmas Cake baked and decorated by the Norbrook canteen team, and all prizes for the Advent Raffle were sourced from local businesses in Newry. The generosity of Norbrook staff has extended to our health care settings with Southern Area Hospice gardens transformed for Christmas and decorations provided to create a festive atmosphere in the Daisy Hill Paediatric Ward.”

The implementation of this programme of support was made possible through the unending support of Community organisations who were involved in the distribution of the We Care @ Christmas Hampers included Community Advice NI, County Down Rural Community Network and the Confederation of Community Groups who represent a wider Community Strategic Stakeholder Forum for the region.

The programme has supported groups across the district to include; Clanrye Group, Donard Fold and Glens Fold in Newcastle, Homestart, Kilkeel Development Association in conjunction with Cornerstone Foodbank, The Larder Foodbank in Newry, Simon Community, St Vincent De Paul in Newry, Sure Start South Armagh and Women’s Aid.

In addition to these groups the Health Development network identified and provided help to other individuals within the community who needed support.

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