‘We help our members grow through a variety of networking opportunities.’

Junior Chamber transforms women’s refuge


Volunteers have completed a Challenge Anneka style mission to makeover Women’s Aid Refuge Centre in Newry. Around 100 volunteers from Newry Junior Chamber completely revamped the facility in just 48 hours transforming it into a bright and airy space. Volunteers worked around the clock to paint the refuge’s 11 bedrooms, 4 kitchens, 6 toilets, hallways and communal area. Floors were replaced and new furniture and kitchen appliances were installed. The £30k revamp was made possible thanks to the kind donations from 75 local sponsors and people from NJC, Women’s Aid and Volunteer Now. The centre which is 11 years old and houses up to 30 vulnerable women and children was badly in need of redecoration. Martina Murtagh vice president of Newry Junior Chamber said: “Women’s Aid is Newry Junior Chamber’s chosen charity for this year. Each year we donate gifts through our secret santa appeal and when members saw how badly run down the refuge was we came up with the idea to give it a much needed redecoration.” Organising committee Martina Murtagh, Stephen O’Hare, Paddy Magee and Paul Dufffy have been planning the makeover for 8 months. Donations had been raised through quiz nights, a raffle and NJC members took part in a relay of the Newry marathon. The charity coffers were swelled by the generous donations from the local business community. Martina said the community makeover united people to give a little help to a worthy cause. It was hard work and very stressful to complete the revamp in such a tight time frame but it was one of the best weekends I have ever had and was so much fun. The revamp has been eight months in the planning and to see the reaction from the women was the best feeling and so motivational. At one stage we didn’t know if we would complete it on time but we were determined to keep going and volunteers were on site 24 hours a day. The community spirit shown by people was overwhelming. One volunteer even got a bus from Belfast not knowing what to expect and gave her time. A lick of paint and new beds made such a difference. When the refuge was revealed the women were completely speechless.”


Newry Reporter

5th September 2012