Deputy First Minister and DCAL Minister get creative in Derry

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Minister Caral Ní Chuilín spent a day in the north west visiting DCAL funded projects in Derry.

The Minister launched the Talent Northwest 2016 competition which will, once again, showcase the abundance of outstanding performing talent in the North West region.

Speaking in the Millennium Forum, the Minister said: “I am delighted to be here today to launch the Talent Northwest competition. Now in its second year, I am pleased that my department is once again supporting this worthwhile initiative.

“This event came about as a result of the legacy of City of Culture, and it will, once again, showcase the abundance of outstanding talent in the North West. Greater Shantallow Community Arts will be working closely with the Neighbourhood Renewal Area Partnerships. The result is both a showcase and a celebration. It provides a platform for the wealth of talent here, and taps in to the creativity which exists at a grassroots level.”

Speaking at the Millennium Forum, the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “I fully support the launch of Talent NorthWest 2016. The thriving arts and music scene in the North West is very much a part of our community spirit. Talent Northwest 2016 will bring together through the arts people who want to develop and showcase their talents. Our young people through their talent, energy and enthusiasm are a huge source of inspiration and hope for the future.

“I appreciate and commend the efforts of Oliver Green and everyone involved with Greater Shantallow Community Arts who are making a real difference to the lives of the people and community they serve.”

The DCAL Minister then visited St Joseph’s boxing club, Galliagh. The club has received more than £400k in funding from DCAL.

Ms Ní Chuilín said: “Boxing plays such an important role within local communities across the north. It promotes healthy living, social inclusion and gives young people an alternative focus in their lives.

“I hope DCAL’s investment in St Joseph’s will enable the club to continue to flourish, attract new members - including females - and I look forward to hearing about its future champions.”

The Minister also visited the new digital hub in the Rosemount Shirt Factory. It opened in November with £75,000 support from DCAL. In partnership with The Nerve Centre and Outer West Renewal Partnership, DCAL’s funding contributed to the refurbishment of a floor of the former shirt factory. It was transformed into a state-of-the-art creativity hub comprising a range of digital equipment and a new music production suite.

The Minister said: “When I launched the ‘Stitch in Time’ Cultural Strategy in 2014 it was a major step in the development of the cultural life of the Outer West Neighbourhood Renewal area. The intention was to use cultural activity as a vehicle to make the Outer West a confident, creative and connected community. It also aimed to encourage more people to participate in cultural life. This facility is a key part of that, and an asset for all those living in the area.”

In conclusion, the Minister said: “It is great to see so many initiatives growing and developing in Derry. What I have seen today is testament not only to the talent that exists here, but also to the people who have worked hard to bring cultural, artistic and sporting projects to fruition.

“I have pledged to continue building on the success of City of Culture 2013 and tackling on-going social and economic challenges in the North West across the Derry, Strabane, Coleraine, Limavady and Dungiven areas.

“Many of the projects are working with vulnerable young people, with people with disabilities, with people suffering with mental health issues and with people for whom involvement in the projects is their only means of social interaction.

“There have been many achievements in the north west. Equally, there are many challenges ahead. But today I have seen a sample of the vibrancy and creativity which exists in this part of the world. I have also seen the real, positive impact of DCAL funding on communities and individuals.”