Newry ‘Celebrating Change’ event a huge success

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Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Over 60 people attended a special event last week in Newry Conference and Banqueting Centre in celebration of two years of the Challenge of Change project. This event is managed by the Southern Partnership’s ‘Challenge of Change’ priority and aims to facilitate greater involvement of people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in civic, community and political life and increase community cohesion. Delegates heard firsthand from participants, the positive impact programmes like the Local Government Shadowing Scheme, ‘Learn the Language of your Neighbour’ and the Schools Engagement programme had on BME groups and local communities. Special Guest Speaker for the day was Catherine Lynch Equality Consultant, UDC Lecturer and former Director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) Ireland and other speakers included Cllr Charlie Casey, Bruce Cartright (Learn the Language of Your Neighbour) and Alina Holyst-Gabor (Local Government Shadowing Programme). Speaking about the event Cllr Roy McCartney, Joint Chair of PEACE III Southern Partnership said, “This was a wonderful event which highlighted the importance of this type of programme in an intercultural society. “This type of programme is extremely valuable in helping minority ethnic residents feel comfortable in our community. “After seeing and hearing firsthand how successful Challenge of Change has been in the area, I can only hope that these programmes continue to enhance, engage BME groups and provide diversity in our local communities.” In her closing remarks Lorraine McCourt, Director of the Joint Technical Secretariat at the Special EU Programmes Body, said, “Racism takes many forms and we are all affected by it, whether consciously or not. The first step in overcoming any form of prejudice is to acknowledge it openly and honestly.
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