LIHH support worker Clare Mone tells all about Leeds Irish Health & Homes St Brigid's Day celebrations...
"We had an absolutely wonderful St Brigid’s Day spent with all generations of our Leeds Irish community.
We began 1st February with a coffee morning held at the Montague Burton Resource Centre - our usual Lunch Club venue. We couldn't have asked for a greater turn out!
Our guests enjoyed coffee, pastries, hot cross buns, sandwiches and cake while engaging in deep conversations and lots of laughter, reconnecting with others they hadn't seen for months, some for years. So many clients commented how much they enjoyed it and asking for more of these events!
Everyone who attended won a prize on the raffle, Maura gave a mini Irish language lesson and we had Irish musicians. There was such a fantastic atmosphere and a feel of community - a real sense of belonging, warmth and kindness for all.
In the afternoon we - myself and LIHH's Megan, along with community members Mary Harkin and Mary Browne - went to St Patrick’s School. We were warmly welcomed by the head teacher and Mrs Howard, who was the Year 5 teacher for the afternoon. The Year 5 children were wonderful ambassadors for St Patrick’s school and said that they'd love to come along to the lunch club to buddy up with our community members!
We had a great discussion about how St Brigid was a role model and how we can be inspired to follow her example by caring for the local community. We also spoke about how faith is not an easy thing, and that having faith sometimes requires you to have strength and face challenges. The children were really engaged and were able to give lots of examples.
The children really enjoyed making the St Brigid’s crosses. They followed the instructions and, as a team, we able to help each other as some found it quite tricky. Our community members shared stories of how they celebrated St Brigid's Day as children growing up in Ireland and supported the children when making the crosses.
Finally, we handed out some Emerald sweets as a little treat. The children definitely deserved them after all their hard work and fantastic behaviour.
Fun fact: we also learnt that the school was called St Brigid’s before changing its name to St Patrick’s! "
From Claire Grady, Headteacher at St Patrick's Primary School:
"I just wanted to say what a super afternoon the Y5 children had with Clare, Megan and the LIHH ladies. The kids absolutely loved it. We truly believe our partnership work with yourselves is some of the most powerful work we are doing with our children."
We also spent St Brigid's Day sharing videos from inspirational Leeds Irish women. You'll need to check out Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see them all, but you can see an example below from Michelle Scally Clarke - a Nigerian-Irish poet based in Leeds.
Wishing all of our community members a wonderful St Brigid's Day - until next year!