District Councils Good Relations Action Plan
The Good Relations Officer within Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council delivers an agreed plan via The Executive Office to address Good Relations issues identified within the 2015 independent audit.
Whilst delivering the District Councils Good Relations Action Plan, the Good Relations Officer also provides support to community groups within Lisburn & Castlereagh on the areas covered by the Together Building a United Community Strategy which includes, ‘Children & Young People’ , ‘Our Safe Community’, ‘Our Shared Community’ and ‘Our Cultural Expression’.
The Somme Programme
Recently under the theme of ‘Our Cultural Expression’ 15 participants from within community groups in the Lisburn Castlereagh area participated in the ‘Somme’ Programme, which involved some pre-workshops exploring World War 1 and how it came to be, followed by a four day residential in Belgium (and France) physically visiting sites such as the Island of Ireland Peace Park, the 16th Irish Division Memorial, the Ulster Tower and the Menin gate. This was followed by workshops upon return to explore their learning whilst away.
After the residential, participants knowledge on the role of the 16th Irish Division in World War 1 increased by 54% thus equipping them with the confidence in speaking about a shared history regarding the face that the 16th Irish and the 36th Ulster Divisions fought alongside one another – and the learning that we could take from that in our everyday life here in Northern Ireland now.
Some comments about the programme included:
“Everything about the programme went over my expectations. It will truly change my life for the better. Nigel the guide made it even better with his knowledge and friendliness.’
“The entire experience was first class and Nigel did a great job explaining it all”.
“Well done to Lynsey and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council on such a fantastically organised trip. Not only myself but the entire group have gotten so much from our experiences in France and Belgium that we all hope to spread the message of peace back at home”.
“The whole programme was extremely successful. I would encourage anyone to take part in the programme (if possible) as huge learning comes out of it. Conflict ends in many casualties and dead. How can we use that knowledge dress our issues today? Together we can achieve more”.
“I would recommend this to other people. I learnt so much and found it a very emotional trip. It has taken it back to my life and the troubles we have here to hopefully building bridges within communities”.
“We were well prepared before the visit and had a god idea of what to expect. We left as strangers and came back as friends”.
The Good Relations Officer also provides many services to community groups, schools, businesses, statutory agencies, etc. including:
- Advice and Support
- Funding Information and Support
- Grant Aid
- Regular communication through email bulletins, letters, phone calls, etc.
- Organisation and delivery of events aimed at promoting Good Relations
- Provision of training courses