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Guildhall sets scene for Community Relations Week

Deputy Mayor Alderman Gary Middleton with members of Derry City Council Community Relations at the programme launch at the Guildhall today.  Included from left are: Sue Divin, community relations officer, Peter Osborne, chairman of the Community Relations Council and Carol Stewart, community relations officer, Derry City Council.

Deputy Mayor Alderman Gary Middleton with members of Derry City Council Community Relations at the programme launch at the Guildhall today. Included from left are: Sue Divin, community relations officer, Peter Osborne, chairman of the Community Relations Council and Carol Stewart, community relations officer, Derry City Council.

A city rich with global diversity has the inspiration for the superb programme launched today at the Guildhall for Community Relations Week 2014, taking place across Londonderry from June 16 to 22.

Derry City Council’s Community Relations team has put together a host of vibrant events, talks, workshops, cultural tours and free training opportunities for 2014’s programme, each exploring and challenging sectarianism and racism and celebrating diversity in all its forms. A ‘Know Your Place’ mystery tour, free bus trips and screenings are also on offer, touching upon this year’s theme of ‘NRG4 Identity’.

Today’s launch was packed full of entertainment too, with live performances from the ever popular Paddy Nash, Bounce Education and more. In the grand surroundings of the Guildhall’s main hall, Londonderry’s Deputy Mayor, Gary Middleton, welcomed Community Relations Week, particularly in light of recent negative press directed at Northern Ireland.

“The importance of Community Relations Week and maintaining positive relations with our neighbours and wider society cannot be underestimated. We must celebrate living in a region so rich with global diversity. We must take pride in ourselves, and each other, and continue to foster understanding while also challenging the negative perceptions that so often divides communities.

“I would urge people to read this year’s programme and choose from any number of fantastic, informative events, talks and tours lined up for Community Relations Week. Come out to these events; enjoy meeting new people and learning more about this shared city of ours. We should take every opportunity to know ourselves, and each other, a little better.”

Guests at the launch included Peter Osborne, Chair of the Community Relations Council and Parades Commission, OFMDFM officials and Mayors and Chairs from several North West Councils, including Strabane and Coleraine. Also widely welcomed was Derry City Council’s Good Relations Strategy for 2014-2017, which was launched alongside CR Week.

Community workers, teachers and youth workers, statutory groups and interested individuals are invited to attend the formal launch of the newly established Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Strategic Forum on 20th June in the Everglades Hotel. This new forum will provide valuable opportunity to hear the voice of a range of local minority ethnic groups and gain understanding of their own cultural and wider aspirations locally.

The launch of ‘Kabalikat’ Filipino Community on 16th June at the Playtrail will be a family-friendly event enabling people to meet with members of the local Filipino community, sample Filipino cuisine and generally have some craic. With a series of innovative schools workshops rolled out locally too, local pupils can learn more about diversity and the importance of building good relations with others.

Community Relations Week will culminate in the ‘Ubuntu Global Festival’, taking place on Sunday 22nd June as part of the Clipper festival. This annual one-day festival aims to promote local awareness of the city’s cultural diversity, and will be divided into three continental zones celebrating world traditions and bringing the riverfront quay alive with free arts and crafts, music and dance, storytelling and much more.

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council in Northern Ireland, sees the biggest week in the community relations calendar as an opportunity to showcase the great work that goes on quietly all year round to build and sustain relationships.

“It is a time to celebrate the ethnic and cultural diversity of our community and the many imaginative ways in which we are building a shared cultural region,” she said.

“We are grateful to everyone who is organising or attending events during the week. Your personal commitment to good community relations is changing this place. Your energy and enthusiasm is the fabric of our peace.”

Have you the energy for identity? This year’s CR Week in Derry~Londonderry sets the challenge to individuals, communities and society to continue to find the energy to welcome, celebrate and understand diverse identities and cultures represented locally. Let’s continue to be a place known for its ‘NRG4 Identity’.

A full listing of Community Relations Week for Derry-Londonderry can be found at www.derrycity.gov.uk/goodrelations

 

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