Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Crossmaglen Day Centre scoops top ‘Best Kept’ award

Staff and service users at Crossmaglen Day Centre are celebrating after being awarded the top title in the Daycare category in the Southern Trust at the Best Kept Health and Social Care Awards, sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport.

The prestigious environmental awards are organised annually by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC) and this year over 100 representatives from health and social care facilities across Northern Ireland entered the Best Kept Awards scheme.  NIAC judges have been visiting the facilities since June to find the best kept medical practices, daycare centres, clinics and residential homes.   

Entrants from all over the north gathered at Antrim Area Hospital on Tuesday last (September 19) for the NIAC Best Kept Health & Social Care Awards Ceremony.

Crossmaglen Social Education Centre impressed the judges with its environmental initiatives and projects that helped staff and service users come together to make an improvement to their surroundings, and to create a place for everyone to enjoy.

Congratulating the local Day Care facility, Doreen Muskett, President of the NI Amenity Council, said,

“The judges were impressed with Crossmaglen Social Education Centre’s efforts as it displayed a fantastic example of the whole centre working as a community for the benefit of all, both in the creating, maintaining and enjoying of the grounds and environment around them.

“The Best Kept Health & Social Care initiative is a fantastic opportunity for facilities across Northern Ireland to work with their service users to have a practical and positive effect on their direct environment. We are extremely grateful to Belfast City Airport for its support this year.”

Speaking to The Examiner about the award, Crossmaglen Day Care Support Worker, Veronica Crossey told us,

“We’re all over the moon to have won the award!  Our outdoor plants and flowers really help with the wellbeing of our service users.  They are involved in the planting and looking after the flowers and plants, giving them a sense of responsibility.  They have something to look after and they can see the end results and be proud that we won such a big award.  It was a bit like the Sam Maguire coming back home!” joked Veronica, who said the centre had been celebrating the award with a party for its users last week.

“ We don’t have a garden so we’ve made the most of our outdoor space with plant pots, window boxes and hanging displays.  We’ve tried to recycle things so we hung an old bike on the wall and hung flowers and plants from it. We try to bring nature inside the facility as well so we have our indoor plants and we often buy flowers so our users can do some flower arranging to decorate the centre.”

Congratulating all the worthy winners on the night – including fellow south Armagh facility, Millview Resource Centre in Bessbrook who were runners-up in the category – Joanne Deighan, Commercial Manager at Belfast City Airport, said,

“The efforts have been incredible and it’s fantastic to hear about the direct impact that the initiatives have had on staff and service users.

“Well done to Crossmaglen Social Education Centre as winners and Millview Resource Centre, Bessbrook as runners-up in the Daycare category in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.”

The Best Kept Health & Social Care Awards is part of the wider Northern Ireland Best Kept Awards initiative, now in its 60th year, which seeks to identify and celebrate Northern Ireland’s best looked-after towns, villages, schools, health and social care facilities and housing areas.

First established in 1957, the competition has grown over the years and now includes 90 awards across a number of categories.

Winner in the Daycare Category of the NI Best Kept Health and Social Care Awards in the Southern Trust is Crossmaglen Social Education Centre. Joanne Deighan, Commercial Manager at lead sponsor Belfast City Airport, Bryce McMurray, Southern Trust, Doreen Muskett, President of the NI Amenity Council (NIAC) and NIAC representative Charlie Smyth present Daycare Support Worker Veronica Crossey, service user Eamon Carragher and Assistant Manager of Crossmaglen SEC with the prestigious award.