Dromore wins charity’s thanks

Antrim and Ballymena Times reporter Lorna McKay with UTV's Tommy Hassan and Judith Hill and Executive Director of Concern UK, Rose Caldwell, in Zambia
Antrim and Ballymena Times reporter Lorna McKay with UTV's Tommy Hassan and Judith Hill and Executive Director of Concern UK, Rose Caldwell, in Zambia

The people of Dromore have won the praise of Concern Worldwide after donating just over £1,000 to the charity.

The money was part of a total of £925,000 raised for Concern by people across Northern Ireland.

In all, the UK public gave £1.4 million to last autumn’s campaign and match-funding by the government took the total to £2.8 million.

NI Director of Concern, David Anderson said: “We are very grateful that the people of Dromore have shown their generosity by backing the appeal. The public have been motivated to do all sorts of things to raise money, such as organising street collections, bake sales and quizzes, fasting for 24 hours, donating items to our shops and taking on a challenge.”

Benefitting from the funds was Concern’s RAIN project, which has been addressing the nutritional crisis in Zambia for the past three years.

Working with Zambia’s health and agriculture ministries, it gives women the seeds, tools and know-how they need to create small vegetable gardens and thereby provide a more varied and nutritious diet for their families.

“This is combined with health and nutrition support for both mother and child,” said Mr Anderson. “So far, there are 180 homestead gardens in the area with 4,500 people benefitting from the scheme.

“Local health professionals are already reporting a vast reduction in the number of cases of childhood under-nutrition since it began.”

As part of the appeal, Lorna McKay, a journalist with one of the Dromore Leader’s sister titles in Ballymena, visited Zambia.

Lorna travelled to one of the poorest regions of Zambia, where more than half of all children suffer from chronic malnutrition.

From there she reported on Concern’s work and how the project would benefit from matched funds.