PEOPLE could have been forgiven for thinking they had seen double – if not treble – at an event last week, when a very special gathering took place of some of the area’s younger residents. The ‘Mournes Multiples Meet-Up’ welcomed the families of twins and triplets, who are of pre-school age, for this launch event which has paved the way for monthly meetings of the support group. Whilst staged on the outskirts of Kilkeel, the event attracted families from across the district, and other families of multiples are encouraged to get in touch.
Thursday’s get-together saw little ones from the likes of Dundrum, Kilcoo, Annalong and the Kilkeel area meet, with organisers “blown away” by the feedback from local people, indicating the desire for a group of this nature. With two sets of triplets, five sets of twins and an expectant mum attending, it certainly was a day to remember and, already, several more families with young twins are hoping to come along to next month’s get-together. Local woman Elaine Trainor, who is by chance a mum to twins, and is the senior social work practitioner at Kilkeel Medical Practice, helped plan the event. She explained that, as part of the multidisciplinary teams in GP surgeries, her role is to support communities with what they feel they need for their area. Delighted with the response to date, Elaine explained that a survey was put out on social media to see if there was a need for a group of this kind in the area and that she and her colleagues “were blown away by the amount of responses received.”
Speaking after Thursday’s meet-up, which she described as “so well attended”, Elaine said it was “wonderful to see” the little ones, along “with their lovely mums, a dad and a granny, not to mention the expectant twin mum-to-be”, take part. Outlining the background to the group’s formation, Elaine said the notion of the meet-up came from local mum Gemma Burke, mother to twins Jared and Aurelia. “She asked me if I could assist her to set up a social meet-up for parents of preschool multiples in the area. “Gemma was aware this had been done in September 2019 when at the time there seemed to be an increase in multiple births in the area and it was well attended monthly until the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to it,” she explained. Elaine added that there was “a great atmosphere” at the event, with friendships formed between the under-fours and the grown-ups too!
Encouraging the parents and guardians for twins, triplets or quads under the age of four, plus those currently pregnant with multiples, to make contact, Elaine said the goal is to share support, advice and experiences. Thanking everyone who was able to attend, plus those who have already expressed an eagerness to come along to future gatherings, Elaine put on record her thanks to Lisa Cunningham, the local Asda community champion, and who is no stranger to parenting twins herself, as well as the Southern Trust’s specialist health visitor, Caroline Martin. She also thanked her colleagues from local multidisciplinary teams, senior social work practitioner Una Doyle, social work assistants Bridgeen Barry and Eibhlin Nugent and student social worker Curtis McCrudden.
The next Mourne Multiples Meetup will be held on Thursday the 9th of November in Ballyvea Hub, Carrigenagh Road, Kilkeel. If you would like to attend, or are keen to know a little more, Elaine would be delighted to hear from you and can be contacted on 07766 220716.