Many of us are feeling the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. So, it was a welcome breath of fresh air to see UTV showcase a Clear/Public Health Agency funded project which uses the beauty of nature to give people a lift.

In Episode 7 of the popular new series Lough Foyle, Joe Mahon interviewed Damien Devine of Dennett Anglers and Dennett Valley Health Network.

Damien Devine chats with Joe Mahon

Damien is a lifelong angler and a dedicated environmentalist who works tirelessly to improve the quality of life for everyone in his local community along the banks of the Burn Dennett near Donemana, Strabane.

He believes that the beauty of the river and valley can be harnessed to improve the physical and mental health of everyone, especially young people. 

“My long-term mental health and well-being lies here, within this river,” he explained, “the sound of the water and the ever-changing light”.

Too many people, especially young men, are “back to the gaming” and not enjoying the benefits to mind, body and spirit of being out and active in nature.

That’s why Dennett Anglers obtained funding from Clear/PHA to teach men of all ages angling skills and deliver environmental education workshops.

The Chairperson of Dennett Anglers, Mr William O’Neill, praised Damien’s vision and commitment. “Damien has been a God-send for the groups of this area and we are very fortunate to have him. He dedicates his entire life to the local community and his voluntary work effort is that of no one we know.”

Mr O’Neill also thanked Westway Film Productions and UTV for showcasing the project on such a popular series and commented:

“I was told that this episode attracted the largest audience of the series so far. We are delighted with the response we have had from a broad spectrum of organisations across Northern Ireland, all asking about our relationship and structure of our relationship with the Clear Project. It really has been a win-win bit of publicity for all.”