Derry City Council’s Community Relations team has been shortlisted for two top UK awards for its successful delivery of the intercultural ‘Diwali Festival of Light in 2013’ and for its overall work across the year in council service delivery.
The team is a finalist in the ‘Best Public/Voluntary Partnership Working’ category and the ‘Best Service Team – Sports, Leisure & Cultural’ in the APSE Service Awards for all councils across the UK. The awards attracted over 375 submissions with over 135 organisations taking part from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Derry team will find out if they are successful at a special presentation evening being held in Nottingham in September.
Speaking on behalf of Derry City Council, Susan Mullan, Head of Community Services, said: “The work of the CR team encompasses a wide range of activities from Grant Aid to groups, extensive schools programmes, and training for local communities and council staff. They also co-ordinate public events like the Ubuntu and Diwali festivals and Community Relations Week, as well as producing special publications promoting citizenship and reconciliation. The team plays a valuable role in dealing with contentious issues like interface work, dealing with the past, hate crime, racism, single identity initiatives; and advising on good relations in council’s wider service provision.”
Community Relations Officer Sue Divin said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for the awards, which demonstrate Derry City Council’s commitment to promoting good relations and inclusivity amongst communities and embracing diversity and equality throughout the city.”
Carol Stewart, Community Relations Officer added: “The Diwali Festival was an extremely enjoyable event which involved a range of cultures offering the opportunity to share new experiences, and learn more about different customs and traditions. Last year the CR Team was the only representation from a council in NI which won an award so it’s fantastic to be shortlisted this year again for something completely different. Tickets are already on sale for this year’s Diwali event at the Millennium Forum on 26th October, so we are advising people to book now!”
The Diwali event was the city’s first major Indian cultural event, held in Derry’s Guildhall in November 2013 as part of the city’s Halloween Carnival programme. Over 2000 people participated in a supporting educational programme made up of 22 schools’ workshops. The traditional festival brought the locally resident Indian Community from three main religions and languages together for the first time in a community planning, capacity building process and joint initiative with Derry City Council. The event was delivered in partnership with the Indian Community in Northern Ireland, the Kerala Association Londonderry, the NI Sikh Association, the Hindu Community and the Punjabi Cultural Association.
To find out more about Derry City Council’s full Community Relations Programme, please go to www.derrycity.gov.uk/GoodRelations