Building strong community links

Over 100 educators and community representatives met together to consider issues around community cohesion and integration.

Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 10:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 12:49 pm
Group pictured at last weeks event at Oakgrove Integrated College. Front from left, Tim Webster, Rev Richard Johnston, North West Methodist Mission; Rev Paul Linkens, Ebrington Presbyterian Church; Katrina Crilly, Principal Oakgrove Integrated College. Back from left, Ashley Donaghey, Principal Oakgrove Integrated Primary & Nursery; Alison McCormick, Classroom Assistant, Oakgrove Integrated Primary & Nursery; Darragh Graham, St Columbs Park House;  Adrian Doney, Classroom Assistant, Oakgrove Integrated Primary & Nursery; and Julie Young, Nurture Centre teacher, Oakgrove Integrated Primary & Nursery.

Together, they spent an afternoon in reflection on how to build stronger community links.

The event, held at Oakgrove Integrated College was held in conjunction with Oakgrove Integrated Primary and Nursery School and the Integrated Education Fund. Around 70 community groups and representatives were invited to attend. Participants shared refreshments before hearing an overview of opportunities for community co-operation and challenges to integration. In his presentation, IEF Chair Ken Cathcart spoke of the opportunities presented by schools from diverse backgrounds and other groups working together.

Participants joined with the staff of the Oakgrove Integrated Schools to hear about each other’s work and to consider challenges in supporting young people, families and communities.

Community representatives pictured at last weeks event at Oakgrove Integrated College. Front from left, Eliza Browning, St Columbs Park House; Marie Brown, Foyle Womens Aid; Georgina Gallagher, WAVE Trauma Centre; Cathy Malcolm, Derry City & Strabane District Council. Back from left, Linda Watson, Caw/Nelson Drive Action Group; Carol Stewart, Good Relations Derry City & Strabane District Council; Colm Cavanagh Foyle Trust for Integrated Education; Mildred Garfield Caw/ Nelson Drive Action Group; and Ashley Donaghey Principal Oakgrove Integrated Primary and Nursery School.

Key issues raised included: child poverty; mental health and the need for community support services and intervention; increased segregation and polarisation; successful projects which have supported the community cohesion; reconciliation; support for families.

Community Engagement was organised jointly by the Principals of Oakgrove Integrated College and Oakgrove Integrated Primary and Nursery, Katrina Crilly and Ashley Donaghey. They expressed their gratitude to the community representatives for taking part and for the opportunity to reflect and engage together. Katrina Crilly added: “Northern Ireland may be the region which has gone longest without a government, but this engagement shows that there is no shortage of ideas and enthusiasm for building this community.”

Following the event, the recommendations will be circulated around participants and shared more widely in community as a spur to further action.

* Among the community participants were: WAVE Trauma Centre; North West Methodist Mission; The Presbyterian Church; Deputy Mayor Councillor Derek Hussey, Foyle Women’s Aid Ca/ Nelson Drive Action Group; Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Good Relations Team; North West Migrants’ Forum; St Columb’s Park House; and Foyle Trust For Integrated Education.

Group pictured at the Community Engagement with Integrated Education event held at Oakgrove Integrated College this week. Front from left: Ashley Donaghey, Principal, Oakgrove Integrated Primary and Nursery School; Ken Cathcart, Chair of Integrated Education Fund; Deputy Mayor of DCDSC, Councillor Derek Hussey; Katrina Crilly, Principal, Oakgrove Integrated College. Back, left to right, Conal Donaghy, Vice Principal, Oakgrove Integrated College; Nial Gill, Vice Principal, Oakgrove Integrated Primary and Nursery, Anne Murray Chair of Board of Governors, Oakgrove Integrated College; and John Harkin, Vice Principal, Oakgrove Integrated College. (Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)