Drew McWilliams | Photographer | Supporting the community Via Wings

Supporting the community Via Wings

March 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Via Wings charity staff members outside Hope and Soul social enterprise shop in Dromore, Co Downhomeless-at-hope-and-soulVia Wings charity staff members draw attention to the homeless outside Hope and Soul social enterprise shop in Dromore, Co Down Staff and volunteers slept out overnight to draw attention to the plight of the homeless in our society

In an ideal world our most vulnerable would be cared for without the need for “cap carrying”. I know, personally from my days as a school leader, how public funds - and cutbacks - can affect the quality of provision. I loved the sign I once saw:

“wouldn’t it be great if our schools and hospitals had all the funds they needed and the army and navy had to hold jumble sales and ballots"!


But this is not an ideal world.


Via Wings has been “cap carrying” and providing practical support to vulnerable people in Dromore since the group's inception in 2009. Through numerous projects staff and volunteers have brought care, support and love to many in our community.


Enthusiastic supporters of Via Wings maintain current project such as Dare 2 Care, which provides essential provisions to local families in need, and a well established social enterprise, the Hope & Soul Shop and Olive Branch Café which helps fund the charity’s work.


They are always searching for new ways to help families and individuals in our community and ….
that involves the need for a certain amount of “cap carrying”.


The group hopes to fund a year-long catering, hospitality and work placement programme for young people and adults facing issues including unemployment and learning disability.


This will take place mainly in their social enterprise coffee shop, the Olive Branch in Dromore, Co Down.

Photograph inside the Olive Branch Coffee Shop, Dromore, Co Down with the Town Hall and Clock in the background.via-wings-coffeeThe Olive Branch coffee shop in Dromore, Co Down

The Olive Branch is a comfortable place to meet

Those involved will learn how to prepare meals, and do training in fire safety and first aid. They will also distribute meals to vulnerable local people. The project will support people to gain new skills, and increase their confidence.


The People’s Projects gives you the chance to decide how National Lottery funding can make a difference in your local community. £3 million of National Lottery funding is up for grabs. With 95 organisations shortlisted across the UK, Via Wings would love you to help support their latest, ambitious project by voting at:

The People's Project: Food for the Soul, Dromore, Co Down


Groups are competing for up to £50,000 of funding to improve the lives of people in their communities and you could help really make a difference.


Check out the group’s video here:

The People's Project: Food for the Soul, Dromore, Co Down


The People’s Projects is an opportunity for you to have your say in where National Lottery funding goes in your community.


In September 2016 the Big Lottery Fund invited projects that have received funding through its small grants programmes over the past year to say what they had achieved and how they would like to develop their project further.


Big Lottery Fund, ITV and STV shortlisted five projects in each region to go forward to the public vote and now urges you to decide which projects you would like to see receive National Lottery funding. The three projects that receive the most votes in each region will receive up to £50,000. The runners up will be offered a discretionary award of up to £5,000.


When submitting your vote, The People's Project will ask for your name, email address and postcode. They will then email you a link that you need to click on to confirm your vote. You can vote for one project in each region per email address but your votes must all be placed at the same time.


You can vote between 9am on Monday 20 March to noon on Monday 3 April 2017. Alternatively, you can vote by post. (Full terms and conditions)


It takes just about 2 minutes of your time to vote but think of the long-lasting effect out votes could have on individuals, their families and our community.


You can vote once per email address per region but your votes must be placed at the same time so "vote early and vote often!"


Voting closes at 12pm on Monday 3 April 2017.


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Professional family and children's portrait photography in Northern Ireland. Drew is a qualified Associate member of both the 'Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers' and the 'National Photographic Society'. He is qualified to Licentiate level with the 'Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland' and is a Master Photographer of the 'National Photographic Society'.