Extraordinary Talents of Disability Hub Members Kickstarts Christmas

24th November 2023

The twinkle of Christmas lights welcomed everyone to the Downshire Estate’s Great Hall in Downpatrick as DisAbility HUB’s service users and volunteers pulled out all the stops as part of their Christmas Craft Fair. Handmade festive cards, baubles, wreaths and paintings were proudly displayed as the team celebrated their talents and raised a cuppa over a mince pie to welcome in the festive season.

The South Eastern Trust’s DisAbility HUB Co-ordination Kelly Benson explained how much over 600 service users with physical disabilities, sensory loss and brain injury rely and enjoy the service. “We are a fledging service within the Trust. We focus our attention on community areas and we would encourage those to come along to our workshop events and our educational courses.

“This coffee morning is very much a chance to promote our service to the community and show what we are about. The talent on display is incredible. I am so proud, immensely proud to see the range of gifts, paintings. We have had people come through our doors who were so nervous– today they have sold their work, I am so, so proud!”

The artistic talents of service user and volunteer Briege Trainor did not go unnoticed by South Eastern Trust Chairman Jonathon Patton who snapped up Briege’s painting which will have pride of place in the Trust’s Headquarters. Briege explained how the Hub helped her to gain confidence and along with South Eastern Trust art therapist Tom Cunningham created the stunning artwork. “When I first came to the Hub a year ago I had very little confidence. It took a few months but soon I was joining in, a simple hello to someone can make so much of a difference. I now help to set up activities such as arts and crafts, to felting and planting.”

Displaying their handmade beautiful baby blankets and scarves was fellow service user and volunteer Frances McGraghan who described how she has been able to “come out of my shell” since accessing the HUB. “I feel amazing coming here today, Kelly is such an inspiration. By knitting the blankets and scarfs this is my way of giving a bit back.”

Lending their support to the event was South Eastern Trust Chief Executive Roisin Coulter. “I am delighted to be here at this Craft Fair and Christmas coffee morning which also provides information about the variety of important work which is carried out in the DisAbility HUB. It is great to see service users, clients and staff here together celebrating their talents and the work we do right across our Trust. I’ve bought something from every stall! It really is just lovely.”