North West Migrants Forum

North West Migrants Forum Launch 2019-20 Programme

Mayor Praises Sterling Work Of Cultural Ambassadors

The Mayor, Councillor Michaela Boyle was a welcome visitor to the North West Migrants Forum premises at Fountain Street on Saturday morning last to launch the group’s 2019-2020 project of activities.

Starting this week, NWMF will launch no less than four different projects funded by The Executive Office, European Union’s Peace IV Programme, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and The National Lottery Community Fund.

NWMF Launch 2019-20

Speaking at the launch, Lilian Seenoi-Barr, Director of Programmes, NWMF, said she was delighted to announce the rollout of the programmes and praised the funders for their continued support.

“I would like to extend a big thank you to the funders who, once again, have supported us in our endeavours to reach out to communities across the city and district.

“The four projects commenced on Monday, June 3 and some will continue right up until March 2020.’’

It’s understood that local facilitators will be involved in all aspects of these projects that will appeal to young people, adults right up to senior citizens.

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Lilian continued: “Our projects will use intercultural dialogue as a medium to engage with the big issues of our time. We hope to connect with people of all ages in discussions that focus on cultural diversity, politics, religion, identity and tribal loyalties in Northern Ireland.

“Activities will range from storytelling events, democracy discussion days; intercultural food demonstrations; Intercultural fashion shows; residentials; intercultural dialogue workshops in schools; after school club, friendship clubs, family fun days, cultural expression and celebration events.”

The NWMF Director of Programmes went on to elaborate that the most exciting part of the new programme will be the variety of activities and the people that they engage with.

“Our programmes extend to all section of our communities. It is a ‘whole of society’ approach. We hope to involve political/community leaders, both locally and regionally, civil servants, church leaders’, educators and even our business people because we believe that an inclusive society can only be achieved if communities work together to resolve the issues that impacts on all of us. Our intention is to encourage, particularly young people, to engage with the big issues that impact on communities today. We want them to help us with new ideas and perspectives on expression of culture, religion, politics, and most importantly, how-to bring communities together.

“Activities will be thought-provoking and focus the minds of our people to think of solutions to the real issues that impact on them.”

North West Migrants Forum Lauch

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, welcomed the project stating: “The Cultural Diversity aspect of the Let’s Talk programme is an important initiative in expanding cultural understanding and awareness in our City and District.

“I am particularly pleased that young people are acting as cultural ambassadors for our region by taking the lead in this initiative by openly discussing the different religious, political and ethnic beliefs and background that exist in our Council area.

“Increased cultural awareness is crucial in building community strength and ensuring that we are a tolerant region that respects diversity and welcomes and celebrates people of all beliefs and backgrounds.”

There was also praise from the four funders of the new programmes with The Executive Office, stating: “We are delighted to fund the ‘Discover Culture, Embrace Diversity’ project, through the 2019/20 Central Good Relations Funding Programme. Young participants use creative arts and storytelling to promote mutual respect and understanding of diverse cultures, and deliver a positive impact on the community, which is ultimately strengthened by its diversity. The project supports the implementation of the ‘Together: Building a United Community’ (T:BUC) Strategy.

And this was supported by Kate Beggs, National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director, who said: “It’s great to see National Lottery money being used by people who are taking the lead in developing brilliant ideas to help their communities thrive. Thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.”

As well as Orla Black, Grants Director, Community Foundation of Northern Ireland, who added: “We are thrilled that Community Foundation NI funding is part of this outstanding project, engaging community members from all backgrounds together to share their culture and beliefs, and moving members of the city and district forward in diversity and intercultural exchange.”  Orla Black Grants Director

Summing up the day’s launch, NWMF Director of Programmes Lilian Seenoi-Barr said: “Our Cultural Ambassadors are all looking forward to playing their part as well in helping bring everyone together, not just in these four new projects but in creating a neutral environment for all our people, regardless of where you come from, what community you belong to or what the colour of your skin is!’ We look forward to another successful year at North West Migrants Forum.”