A SOCIAL media campaign in the town is gathering pace.
‘I Love Lurgan’ was set up to provide social media training for unemployed young people and give them a sense of active citizenship while promoting the town as a shopping and leisure destination.
The project, run through Omnisoft in partnership with Wade Training, has built up a large online community of like-minded individuals who share a love for Lurgan.
Project leader Damien Harte said: “Traditional community is changing. It used to be face to face contact. Now communities are online. What we’re doing here is using social media to create a community of people with a shared interest in the town.
“The best way to describe ‘I Love Lurgan’ is an online community that thinks outside the box.
“As well as the work online we’re on the streets actively promoting the town and its businesses and making it a better place to trade in. We aim to build relationships that will be mutually beneficial to everyone involved.”
Damien is the lead social consultant for software firm Omnisoft who have an office in the town centre. He explained: “We’re hoping to expand the project in September in partnership with Wade to provide opportunities for more young people. From an Omnisoft point of view we’ll take more people and train them in social media.”
He continued: “The success is that we’ve had Lurgan businesses buying into the project. The Premier are hiring trainees from Wade and have used the same local artists as ourselves redecorate their premises. Dowey’s is another business who are working in partnership. They provided food for a barbecue which meant we were able to hold a free barbecue in the town.
“It’s not about making money, all the money will be put back in. It’s about promoting the town.
“The young people on the project are learning social networking skills, people skills and businesses are benefitting. It works on so many different levels.”
Damien commented: “I never shopped in the town up until a couple of years ago because I never felt there was ownership of the town, especially coming from a nationalist background.
“Now I’m involved in Lurgan Forward and I know what the issues are and am in a position where I can make a difference I feel more part of the town.
“I shop in Lurgan and encourage others to do the same.”
There are several more projects in the pipeline for ‘I Love Lurgan’. They’re currently working on Lurgan Legends artwork for the alleyway beside the business in Church Place and they’ve also begun work on a ‘Spitting Image’ online campaign to encourage young people to stop throwing their chewing gum down in the street.