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This was a very appropriate place to visit as the publicity from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust says – “Castle Espie is really a sanctuary for all… the team have created a space which allows for all our needs to be met. A safe and inviting space that enables all of us to stop, listen and reconnect with the things that really matter in life. That is the true beauty of the Castle Espie.”

Ably organised by our Chair Israel Eguaogie and our Treasurer Alexis Ekwueme, 54 people mainly consisting of families enjoyed a great day out at this bird and wildlife sanctuary on the shores of Strangford Lough. The Centre is associated with the similar Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre at Slimbridge in England set up by Sir Peter Scott, son of the distinguished explorer, Scott of Antarctica. There is also a network of other centres throughout the British Isles.
We were warmly greeted and hosted by Jean, a volunteer at Castle Espie. Many thanks to Jean for looking after us so well and taking such a big interest in our work at Belfast City of Sanctuary.
The children loved feeding the ducks and geese with grain; it looks as if they’re very well fed.
There’s so much to see here, and so much to stimulate our children and adults alike including the old clay pits and lime kilns.
Other big attractions with our children were the swings and a zip line in the extensive grounds of the Centre.
We finished the afternoon with refreshments in the common room at the Centre. At various times, our people were bringing out food from various cultures, such as from Sudan, Syria, Singapore and Eritrea and sharing it out among those attending. Food shared is always a way to build friendships between different cultures. our host Jean also enjoyed tasting the various foods.
Many thanks to all for this day. Everyone contributed to its success. We were thankful that the day, though dull, remained dry. However there were rays of sunshine in the smiles and laughter of all who came to Castle Espie.
We were oversubscribed for this family day, so hopefully we’ll be able to repeat it soon.
Belfast City of Sanctuary gratefully acknowledges funding from Belfast City Council for this event.