BALLYMONEY Community Resource Centre recently held another successful Women’s Conference in The Lodge Hotel, Coleraine entitled What’s still Troubling You?
The event, which was organised through the IFI Community Bridges Programme, Rooting for Change Together, was attended by almost 100 local women who were given the opportunity to discuss and explore issues in relation to The Troubles and how this has impacted on their lives.
The Conference began with a panel speaker session facilitated by Anne Carr from Greater North Belfast Women’s Networking. The four panel speakers were Sandra Overend MLA; Mary Kelly, Greater North Belfast Women’s Networking; Cllr Angela Dobbins and Lynn Carville WRDA who gave an insightful overview of their personal background and work, raising issues such as voluntary roles aimed at making at difference in the community, the Social Welfare Reform and the need for women to be represented in policy making. Their presentations were received with great empathy from the delegates who then had the opportunity to ask the panel some questions.
This session was followed by two dialogue workshops from a choice of six, which included ‘Community Sprit’, facilitated by Louise Little, Beyond Walls Ltd which was an inspiring workshop looking at the roles women have and continue to play in their communities and encouraging participants to consider what impact they could make in the future.
Coleraine councillor Yvonne Boyle and Cllr Angela Dobbbins co-facilitated the ‘Having A Say in You Local Community Workshop’ which gave women the opportunity to voice their concerns and discover the means to have their voices heard.
In the ‘Policing & Justice’ Dialogue delivered by Supt. Barbara Gray and Insp. Catherine Magee, PSNI participants explored the role that women played and continue to play in relation to policing and justice and to examine whether relationships have improved between the police and communities since the Good Friday Agreement.
Meanwhile in the Looking to the future Young People session which was attended by pupils and staff from Ballymoney High School, Dalriada Grammar School and Our Lady of Lourdes High School everyone had the opportunity to have an open, refreshing and frank dialogue around challenges facing young people today and how best to tackle these and move forward.
In the afternoon there was also the opportunity to participate in two further workshops, the first entitled ‘Creative Ways of Addressing the Past’ facilitated by Cliodhna Geraghty, SARWN and Anne Carr looked at art as an effective medium to consider and reflect upon our past. The other dialogue co-facilitated by Lynn Carville WRDA and Mary McCusker, MMC Consultants, addressed the sensitive issues of domestic violence, child neglect, addictions and mental health issues as a result of the Troubles. This issue was raised at the previous conference and delegates felt a strong need to explore it further.
The Conference concluded with an art session where delegates were invited to create their own individual print postcard. On one side they wrote a short piece reflecting the day’s discussions and their own personal experiences and on the other side they designed a complimenting print or picture. This proved a fitting end to the day’s activities which once again had significant positive impacts on those who attended.
The staff at Ballymoney Community Resource Centre would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported this event, with particular appreciation to the panel speakers and facilitators as well as our funders the International Fund for Ireland, without whom this programme of events would not haven been possible.
If you would like any further information on upcoming events please contact Angela or Shauna at Ballymoney Community Resource Centre on 028 2766 5068.