It is the highest honour any Council can award and means the recipient can parade through the town, but it’s unlikely St Vincent de Paul or The Salvation Army will be taking to the streets.
Instead, representatives from both charities say they are simply honoured at being recognised for the work they do.
The honour - in recognition of their ‘outstanding work’ - will be bestowed on both organisations later this year. It is historic as it is the first and last time Limavady Council will grant the honour before the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council comes into being in April.
“We feel honoured and we feel a sense of quiet satisfaction and, to tell you the truth, the best bit is the awareness of both organisations and of the work we do trying to help people,” said Jim Herron of St. Vincent de Paul. “We are local charities helping local people and, hopefully, this will increase awareness locally about what we do. I am very satisfied to think we have been recognised jointly for what we do.”
Captain Joan Archibald of The Salvation Amy said she was honoured at the joint recognition.
“The town of Limavady has suffered lots in recent years through loss of employment and many people have hit rock bottom with people really on the breadline, and looking to survive and it’s good to know our councillors and our mayor have recognised our work in reaching out to helping those people,” said Capt. Archibald. “We do what we can so it’s essential we network with the community and draw out the experience of others to make life better for poeple who need our help. I feel there are a lot of people in Limavady working on a low income and it’s important we look out for them as well.”
Capt. Joan added: “It’s a real honour that we have received the freedom of the borough in Limavady and it’s great recognition of the work both The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul both do.”
The organisations will be presented with the joint honour at a special ceremony in the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre in March. The motion was brought by SDLP Councillor Michael Coyle and supported by all
“Both organisations work at ground level helping those who have problems, whether those problems are financial or otherwise,” Colr. Coyle said. “They also work with the various statutory sometimes lobbing and, sometimes working on behalf of those people who have approached them for help. It is also important to note that both organisations work and co-operate with each other.
“I have availed or their assistance on behalf of constituents, as I’m sure that most elected members have. I have always found a listening ear and had many a practical solution proffered by both these organisations.”