A packed programme for Derry’s Community Relations Week!

Derry's Mayor, Martin Reilly.
Derry's Mayor, Martin Reilly.

The organisers of Derry City Council’s highly successful Community Relations Week are encouraging members of the public to come out and get to know one another during a series of events in June.

Community Relations Week 2014 runs from June 16-22 and organisers say it offers great opportunities to local people and groups to get to know the global diversity in their own city and district. The weeklong event will be marked with the launch of the Black and Minority Ethnic Strategic Forum, the launch of ‘Kabalikat’ Filipino Community and the exciting Ubuntu Global festival.

An open invite is being sent out for an event on Monday June 16 (6.30-8.00pm) for the family friendly event at the Playtrail officially launching ‘Kabalikat’ as the North West’s newly established Filipino community group. The event will include information about the group, the needs of the Filipino community, culture, craic and Filipino food.

At a strategic level, community, teachers and youth workers, statutory groups and interested individuals are invited to the formal launch of the newly established Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Strategic Forum. The event on June 20 (10.30am–12noon) in the Everglades is an opportunity to hear the voice of a range of local minority ethnic groups articulating the needs that they want local service providers to meet, and a chance to understand their own cultural and wider aspirations locally.

Derry’s Mayor, Councillor Martin Reilly said he is delighted to see a number of new Forums set up to represent our ethnic communities across the city.

“Derry-Londonderry is a city that welcomes diversity and both of these new initiatives offer the chance to incorporate those interested in finding out more information on our local migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers to attend the BME forum a chance to hear firsthand the experiences of local residents originally from India, Poland, China, Phillippines, Africa have whilst living in the city. The Ubuntu festival is a chance for a combined celebration of world traditions; a great way to round up this year’s Community Relations Week, which itself sees a host of NI wide events planned from a range of organisations and the chance to showcase the positive projects promoting our shared society,” he said.

Sue Divin, Community Relations Officer with Derry City Council explained the reasons behind the new structured forums. “Often Community groups and statutory agencies approach council looking for a list of ethnic minority contacts so that they can invite them to take part in their activities. These events in Community Relations Week turn that approach the other way around by asking the service providers to come and hear firsthand what the local ethnic minority population expectations are. So whether you are a community group, a school, a statutory agency or simply someone wanting to understand this field better, we would encourage you to come along to one or more of these events.”

“Derry-Londonderry is currently home to over 50 nationalities, this is a celebration of that cultural diversity. With sights, sounds and flavours from across the globe tantalising your senses, a whistle stop experience of Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, the riverfront Quay will be buzzing with arts and crafts, music and dance when this year we will ask if you have the ‘Energy for Identity?”

The Ubuntu festival will be divided into three continental zones - ‘Africa and the Caribbean’, ‘Europe and the America’s’, ‘Asia and the Middle East’ and one ‘World Zone’. In each of the continental zones expect to find free family friendly activities like arts and crafts, storytelling, and music and dance activities you can take part in. Our local minority communities based in the North West but from Poland, India, Phillippines, China, Japan and various African nations amongst others will be putting on a colourful carnival atmosphere display of their cultures and traditions. In the World Zone you will saunter around exhibitions about local diversity and have the opportunity to support local groups in their promotion of local diversity. And of course there is a café and bar to enjoy whilst taking in quality performances representing identities around the globe on our ‘World Stage’. Expect Irish, British and Ulster Scots identities to be amongst the world class performances from other nations and cultures. So whether it’s Bollywood, Bongos, Bodhráns or Brazil you’re an enthusiast for don’t miss this exciting festival!

Advance booking is preferable for the BME Strategic Forum launch and the Kabalikat launch. To reserve your place please contact: helena.kearney@derrycity.gov.uk tel: 02871365151 ext 8223. No advance booking required for the Ubuntu Global festival.