HSC staff receive Freedom of the City of Lisburn & Castlereagh

23rd May 2022

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) has conferred the Freedom of the City of Lisburn & Castlereagh upon Health and Social Care (HSC) staff in Northern Ireland.

Hundreds of HSC staff were celebrated at an award ceremony and garden party in Castle Gardens, Lisburn. The event was packed with staff from all aspects of HSC life including nurses, porters, doctors, care home workers, corporate staff, dieticians, midwives, pharmacists, social workers and support workers.

The award, which is the highest civic honour that can be given to an individual or organisation, was granted in recognition of the valuable service HSC staff have given to the LCCC area and Northern Ireland since its formation in 1948.

As part of the event, guests enjoyed performances by the Belfast Trust Here 4 U Staff Choir and Belfast Uke Jam, in an open tent decorated in brightly coloured rainbows and umbrellas, continuing the Mayor’s Carnival theme of ‘Brighter Days Ahead.’ A tree was also planted in Castle Gardens to mark the occasion.

Speaking at the event, Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Alderman Stephen Martin, said: “Northern Ireland is privileged with such a fantastic health service – for all stages of life. It is my honour to recognise and thank everyone involved in health and social care for the enormous contribution to our community. As one team, as a HSC family, they have seen us through what has arguably been one of the most challenging times that any of us will ever face and we cannot thank them enough.

“I hope this award demonstrates just how much the people of Lisburn and Castlereagh appreciate and admire health and social care staff, who continue to work tirelessly to care for the sick and most vulnerable in our society.”

Deputy Chief Executive of South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, Nicki Patterson, said: “It is an honour and a privilege to accept the Freedom of the City of Lisburn & Castlereagh on behalf of Health & Social Care staff in Northern Ireland. There are a range staff who work across health and social care and they are all cogs in the wheels that keep the service going.

“Receiving this honour is all the more special given the last two years we have all been through. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for everyone in society but particularly for HSC workers who have faced situations they could never have imagined before March 2020.We are immensely grateful to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council for this timely acknowledgment. Today is a celebration and this Freedom of the City is for all of us who work in Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.”

The tradition of conferring Freedom of the City dates back to the early thirteenth century. This award originally bestowed many special privileges upon the recipients. However, in recent times the conferment is purely honorary.