Celerating Community Relations Week

STUDENTS from the Northern Regional College in Ballymoney and Ballymoney Borough Council marked Community Relations Week with events and adopting the theme ‘Expressing Identity - Addressing Division.’

Over sixty students took part in a cultural diversity workshop sponsored by the Council in partnership with both Ballymoney Community Resource Centre and the Hands off My Friend campaign.

NRC Equality Officer Fiona McDowell stated that “The high energy music workshop provided by Beyond Skin Music is a great opportunity for our Performing Arts/Production and Music Production students to experience cultural diversity through talented musicians. The variety of styles from South American, Eastern European, South American and Indian have all fascinated the students while focusing on issues surrounding different cultures”.

Sarah Harkness, Cohesion Officer Peace III and Jonny Donaghy, Good Relations Officer Ballymoney Borough Council were both delighted to get involved with NRC and this Partnership initiative.

“This multicultural workshop will challenge perceptions and make students aware of the wealth of diversity that exists in Northern Ireland and in Ballymoney,” Sarah said.

Community Relations Week had the theme ‘Expressing Identity – Addressing Division’.

Groups from throughout Ballymoney Borough organised five events as part of this celebration of identity – Tour of City of Culture, Multicultural event in Northern Regional College, Ballymoney Museum GAA History project, Ballymoney Royal Black District Exhibition and Ballymaconnelly LOL Orange Order Educational Programme.

Recognising the challenge presented by the right to express identity in an increasingly diverse society Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive, Community Relations Council praised the work taking place to address division:

“Community Relations Week is our statement of hope for the future, encouraging us to realise that community and voluntary organisations, in partnership with government, can learn the skills necessary to build relationships and bridge division.”

Moyle Council also celebrated Community Relations Week with events attended by the chair, Cllr. Sandra Hunter and other interested parties.