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The city of Derry~Londonderry has long been synoymous with Halloween. Known as the Halloween Capital of Europe and voted the best place in the world to celebrate it.

The festival returns in 2022 and will run from Friday 28th October right through until Halloween night. Featuring family orientated activities like monster making arts and crafts, a pumpkin hunt and Halloween storytelling. For older visitors there is cemetery tours, a dress up silent disco and music gigs from Alabama 3 and Hudson Taylor. There’s also a big fireworks finale.

If you are visiting Derry~Londonderry this Halloween, this is a also a perfect opportunity to visit some of the local social enterprises in the area. Delivered by volunteers and community champions, these local visitor experiences’ core purpose is social impact as well as visitors’ enjoyment.

Access to the Arts for All

Greater Shantallow Arts is a community arts organisation that aims to provide direct access to the arts within disadvantaged communities in the Greater Shantallow Area/Outer North Region of Derry. Their Studio 2 premises is one of Ireland’s best loved Arts centres. The group provide a range of activities from theatre shows to classes and workshops. The highlight of their year is their partnership with North West Carnival to create a wonderful Halloween Carnival.

Sensory Support

ASpace2 MultiSensory Centre provides day opportunities for adults and children with additional needs. The five multi-sensory rooms are designed to ensure that children and young adults with additional support needs are able to access a community facility which is age appropriate and is meaningful regardless of ability.

Book your Choice – there’s loads to choose from:

New Gate Arts & Culture Centre is a vibrant arts and culture centre located in the Fountain area of the city. Close to the historic walls and the city centre it offers a range of workshops, classes, performances, talks, tours, festivals and cultural events with something for everyone.

Inclusive Coffee taste:

The Whistle Stop Café is found on Derry’s Foyle Road and is part of the North West Learning Disability Centre. It is the perfect stop for a bite to eat or a delicious baked treat after a visit to the nearby St Columb’s Cathedral. The café is a fantastic social enterprise that offers employment opportunities to people with disabilities. 

History Buffs this way:

The Museum of Free Derry is dedicated to telling the story of what happened in the city between the years 1968 and 1972. Located in Derry’s Bogside where the events of Bloody Sunday unfolded, particular focus is paid to those most involved and effected by these events. The exhibition aims to remember and help understand the local history of the city and its contribution to the ground breaking civil rights struggle which erupted in Derry in the mid-1960s and culminated in the massacre on Bloody Sunday. A must see for any history aficionados.

Visit the Farm and make new friends

Just a 20 minute drive outside of the city, Gortilea Social Farm provides a space for practical, meaningful and enjoyable day experiences in a rural environment irrespective of ability or disability. Visitors can look after a range of livestock from sheep, cattle and horses as well as learning about growing and cooking healthy meals. Providing both indoor and outdoor activities ensures that there is something to do no matter the weather conditions. 

Spending your time and money in these venues not only helps deliver social impact but is an endorsement that,  the local volunteers and committees’ efforts are valued.

#Social Time is always a good time.

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Community Finance Ireland makes £340,000 available to water and mountain rescue schemes in Northern Ireland

Community Finance Ireland has provided North West Mountain Rescue Team with £150,000 funding, allowing them to upgrade their fleet of hi-spec rescue vehicles this autumn.  Along with £191,000 for Lough Neagh Rescue, this takes the total amount of funding provided to rescue schemes in Northern Ireland by Community Finance Ireland in 2022, to £340,000.

North West Mountain Rescue Team was established in Derry City in 1980 to provide a search and rescue service for the North West. The operational area has now extended to the geographical boundaries of Northern Ireland with the exception of the Mourne Mountains which is covered by Ireland’s oldest and one of its busiest teams, the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team.  In addition, because they are members of Mountain Rescue Ireland (MRI), they can provide support where needed to any of the ten other Mountain Rescue Teams on the island of Ireland.

Phelim Sharvin, Head of Community Finance Ireland Northern Ireland, said:

“Community Services like the North West Mountain Rescue Team are often at their busiest during the summer months. As we make the most of the longer days by taking to the waters or to the mountains, unfortunately the unexpected can happen.  Now North Mountain Rescue Team is better equipped to respond swiftly and safely to emergency calls.

“The recent social finance provision in Northern Ireland builds on our previous success with rescue schemes in the Republic of Ireland; South Eastern Mountain Rescue in Co. Tipperary and Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team in Co. Wicklow, both of whom we have worked with since 2016.  It brings our total investment in Rescue Schemes on the island of Ireland to £0.83m.”

Treasurer at North West Mountain Rescue, Andrew Kelly, said:

“North West Mountain Rescue Team gained charitable status in 2014.  We provide a year-round, 24 hour call-out service at the request of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and to minimise response times, the team is organised into three Sections based in Enniskillen, Magherafelt and Ballymena covering the West, Central and Eastern Sections respectively.  All rescue is carried out by our volunteers, who are expected to respond in all weather conditions, requiring enormous commitment from team members.

“Through this funding the team has been able to purchase a Ford Transit and Toyota Hilux. These vehicles are highly customised to perform their chosen roles, namely: patient extraction and command and control. We are delighted with the support from the team at Community Finance Ireland who recognised the value of our work and supported out application.” 

For information on how social finance could support your organisation, visit https://communityfinanceireland.com/

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