Schools celebrate completion of ‘Chain of Love’

22nd June 2021

Chain of Love project

Celebrations have taken place across the Fermanagh and Omagh district as children complete their ‘Chain of Love – Together we can do great things’ project.

‘Chain of Love’ – a creative and wellbeing programme designed to help children settle back in to school life after a period of home schooling due to the ongoing health pandemic – was the brainchild of Drumlish Primary School teacher, Catherine Gormley, and developed in partnership with a team of creatives through Strule Arts Centre, Omagh.

All primary schools across the Council area were invited by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council through the Strule Arts Centre to participate in the programme, with hundreds of children taking part in April and May.

The project helped children to celebrate coming together again within the school community and encouraged them to express themselves and their emotions in a safe and collaborative way through teamwork, art and creative activities, with their health and wellbeing at its core.

The four-week virtual programme included a story to explain the purpose for Chain of Love for young children; a wellbeing workshop to encourage children to express their anxieties, emotions and experiences of the health pandemic; an art and design activity to create a ‘Chain of Love’; Chain of Love song and dance and creative writing of a fairy tale based on children’s experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking about the project, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson, said:

“Fermanagh and Omagh District Council was pleased to support the development of this innovative and imaginative programme which focused on supporting the wellbeing of children through a range of creative activities as they returned to school.

I was delighted to visit schools recently that took part in the project and see and hear progress made throughout the project which culminated with schools linking together their ‘Chain of Love’ in a creative way.

I know that the past year has not been easy for our young people, where they have not been able to go to school or see their friends for periods of time. I would like to commend schoolteacher, Catherine Gormley, who came up with the idea for ‘Chain of Love’ as a means to helping children settle back into the school environment and the staff at Strule Arts Centre and the team of creatives who helped to bring the project to life in a fun and engaging way.”

A team of local creative professionals, organised through the Strule Arts Centre, worked with Catherine to develop the project. Catherine as project originator, together with Lisa McManus, Play Therapist from Shine Play Therapy; Vicky O’Neill, dance and music teacher; Andrew Maguire creative writer and music teachers Orla Devine and Niall Moore, all worked together to create an enjoyable four-week programme for primary school children returning to school.

A showcase of the project featuring a number of participating schools is being posted on the Strule Arts Centre facebook page each day from Monday 21 June to Friday 25 June 2021.

The ‘Chain of Love – Together we can do great things’ is free to participate in and can be completed at home or in school at any time. For further information on the ‘Chain of Love’ programme please visit the Strule Arts Centre website at www.struleartscentre.co.uk