27th August 2020 - Page 41



FARM WEEK
FARMFAMILY
NOVEMBER 23 2017
41
Red kites project puts the ‘our’ into RKites
R
ED kites are one of our most stunning
birds of prey and this year 20 territorial
pairs have been recorded in Northern
Ireland, with 13 pairs successfully
fledging 28 chicks – the highest number on
record.
RKites, a new funded partnership project,
will focus on a dedicated public engagement
programme reaching out to 40 schools in
counties Down and Armagh, young people and
members of the public in communities where
the red kites are present, as well as working
alongside the Mourne Heritage Trust’s Youth
Rangers programme.
This work aims to ensure that the population
of red kites in Northern Ireland thrives,
flourishes and expands despite the many
challenges that they face.
The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery
Fund, RSPB NI, Newry, Mourne and Down
District Council and Armagh City, Banbridge &
Craigavon Borough Council, with support from
the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group and
the Mourne Heritage Trust.
Next year will mark 10 years since the
ground-breaking reintroduction of red kites
in Northern Ireland, after they had been
persecuted to extinction around 200 years
ago.
Despite the growing numbers, we are still
a long way from reaching a sustainable red
kite population. Sadly in August of this year a
young red kite was found dead after being shot
near Moneyslane in County Down.
The aim is to engage local people, especially
young people, to become passionate about
this majestic species and to raise awareness
of the story of these remarkable raptors.
To date there has been a fantastic level
of involvement from the general public both
in terms of signing up as volunteers and
reporting red kite sightings via redkiteni@rspb.
org.uk
Speaking at the launch at Tollymore
Mountain Centre on the edge of the Mournes,
Joanne Sherwood, Director at RSPB NI,
said: “We’re delighted to be working in this
partnership to help secure the future of red
kites in our countryside.
“With support from our funders and with Alan
Ferguson, our dedicated RKites Project Officer,
working alongside an enthusiastic team of
volunteers, we are determined to bolster red
kite numbers further to achieve a sustainable
population.
“The name ‘RKites’ relates to red kites and
IN FLIGHT: Red kite
Milvus milvus, low flying.
to the fact that they are
indeed OUR kites. It’s
up to all of us to support
these iconic birds and
to ensure that we can
cherish and protect them
and give them a home
in Northern Ireland for
years to come.”
Paul Mullan, Head of
Heritage Lottery Fund
NI, added: “We are
delighted to support
the exciting new RKites
project. People play such
an important role in the
protection of our natural
heritage and it’s crucial that they are equipped
with the skills and knowledge to do this.
“The red kite is such an iconic species that it
can hook everyone’s imagination and interest,
young and old. They then learn more about all
our raptor species.
“We are thrilled that the RKites project
will seek to do all of this, so a big thank you
should go to National Lottery players who
allow us to fund projects which help reconnect
people to their heritage.”
Visual impairment group and council Santa double act has Christmas
bid to create a unique history trail sorted
A
GROUP of people with
a visual impairment
are working with
Causeway Coast and
Glens Borough Council to
create a unique history trail.
The initiative is part of the
Peace IV Understanding our
Area – People and Place
Programme, which was
officially launched at the Royal
National Institute of Blind
People (RNIB) in Coleraine.
The programme will include
at least 20 community
projects which aim to increase
understanding and expression
of our history, culture, people
and places through museums’
collections, historic sites and
cultural heritage.
It will also include a range of
events and showcases which
will explore the history of the
Causeway Coast and Glens.
All projects will ultimately be
available through a digital
platform.
ABOVE: Stan Lightowler, with his
dog Greg, pictured at the launch of
the Peace IV Understanding Our Area,
People and Place programme which took
place in the RNIB Centre in Coleraine
with Jonathan Adams, RNIB Community
Access Support, and Dr Nicholas Wright,
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough
Council Museum Services Community
Engagement Officer.
RIGHT: The Mayor of Causeway
Coast and Glens Borough Council,
Councillor Joan Baird OBE, chats with
Jonathan Adams, RNIB Community
Access Support, and Helen Perry,
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough
Council Museum Services Development
Manager.
Mayor Joan Baird said: “Our
area has such a rich and
distinctive history that people
from all over the world want to
understand.
“No one can share that
history better than our own
communities. Council’s
Museum Services will guide
groups through developing
their project and provide
assistance and support along
the way through PEACE IV.”
Participants from the RNIB
will work on a crosscommunity basis to
design the history
trail, which will give
them hands-on access
to the borough’s past
and key historic sites.
The initiative is
part of the Causeway
Coast and Glens
Borough Council’s
Peace IV Local Area
Action Plan, funded
by the Special EU
Programmes Body,
which is providing
£3.5 million for
community projects
across the borough.
o For more
information or to
request an Expression
of Interest form,
please email
cms@causeway
coastandglens.gov.
uk or telephone 028
7034 7277
RIGHT: The Peatlands Santa
Express awaits! Mum Karen with
two-year-old Cara Rose, nine-yearold James and seven-year-old
Thomas help launch this year’s
Peatlands Santa Express.
M
ANY babies have
celebrated their first
Christmas due to the
fabulous support available
from TinyLife, Northern
Ireland’s only premature baby
charity. Now TinyLife are
holding a jumbo Santa event
with a difference, to raise
vital funds to help future
premature babies celebrate
their first Christmases.
A two-centre bumper festive
event has been planned,
which includes a Snowstorm
Christmas Colour Run in
Lurgan Park on Sunday,
December 10 and a train ride
to visit Santa in his woodedcabin at Peatlands Park
(exit 13 M1 at Loughgall) on
December 9-10 and 16-17.
Both events have the same
cover charge £10 adult and
£5 child.
The festive experience
brings something for
everyone of all ages, as the
colour run offers up a festive
drenching by Santa’s elves, a
visit to the man in red, snow
glasses for every participant
and a medal for all finishers;
while the Peatlands event
package has reserved a
special train service to chug
along the Park’s narrowgauge railway to see Santa,
which includes a gift, a free
make and take craft and
refreshments as part of the
ticket price.
A bundle-booking system is
available if both events are
reserved. The Lurgan Park
Colour Run remains at full
price, but for every ticket
purchased for the run (adult/
child matched) tickets for
the Peatlands event will be
eligible for a 10 per cent
refund.
For visitors preferring
to make the takeaway
Christmas craft, a pay on
the day charge of £4 is
applicable. A timed ticketing
system is in place to keep
Santa’s nerves intact!
Visitors are asked to book
where possible online and to
arrive 15 minutes before the
visit.
Lurgan Park Manager
Leanne McShane said:
“We are looking forward to
welcoming TinyLife back
for their annual Christmas
charity event. After their
past successes such as the
reindeer walk and zipline
to Santa, the Snowstorm
Christmas Colour Run will be
a first for the park.”
Peatlands Park Warden
Martin Hampton said: “Our
train is always a huge
draw throughout the year
bringing visitors face to
face with nature. Christmas
is a wonderful time for
children and families, so it is
especially poignant that we
can take this opportunity to
support the work of such a
worthwhile charity, who help
transform lives every day.
“As our train turns into the
magical Peatlands Santa
Express, we would encourage
visitors to hop aboard and
escape to the great outdoors
while supporting TinyLife – a
double feel-good factor!”
Over 1,900 babies are born
too soon (six babies every
day), too small or too sick
in Northern Ireland. Some
arrive as early as 24 weeks,
weighing as little as 1lb/454
grams, the same weight as
half a bag of sugar! At this
understandably very stressful
time for parents, TinyLife is
there to provide practical
advice, emotional support
and to give a helping hand to
families who have a baby in a
neonatal intensive care unit,
with their network of Family
Support Officers in every
neonatal unit across Northern
Ireland, ensuring parents
receive optimum support in
hospital, at home and within
the community, all ably
supported by a dedicated
team of active volunteers.
Local mum Amy Stevenson’s
daughter, Alexa Smith, was
born at 35 weeks three
days due to IUGR, weighing
3lbs 13ozs in CAH. Baby
Alexa will celebrate her first
birthday before Christmas.
Amy recalls how much
TinyLife made to her family’s
lives: “Tinylife is the lifeline
we never realised we needed.
The TinyLife Family Support
Officer, Janice has been
amazing and an absolute
credit to the team. We simply
don’t know where we’d have
been without her this last
year! From the initial support,
through to our current coffee
mornings/play dates for a
cuppa and catch up with
other preemie parents, the
support has been second to
none. It’s been great to have
a safe space to chat with
others who have experienced
a similar experience and to
watch these little miracles
grow and flourish. We’ll
be forever grateful for the
services provided by Tinylife
and their wonderful staff.”
For more information on
fundraising, volunteering
or this and forthcoming
events, visit tinylife.org.uk,
buy tickets at buytickets.
at/tinylife or connect on
Facebook and Twitter.

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