THE public are being encouraged to take a deep breathe, a small step or even a Flamenco twirl towards deepening peace, challenging racism, sectarianism and prejudice during this year's Community Relations Week (14-19 May).
Derry City Council has organised a packed programme of events planned for the city throughout the week in an effort to encourage the public to take an active role in improving community relations. Entitled “Deep Breaths, Small Steps”, this year’s campaign has a range of free and fun events for everyone to enjoy.
Sue Divin is one of the Community Relation Officers with Derry City Council, she says it’s the perfect opportunity for people to engage with others in new environments and settings and explore a range of cultures and experiences they might never have before.
Among the many fun events being organised is a Flamenco class for absolute beginners at the Little Diamonds Community Playgroup, at the Diamond Centre, Claudy on Tuesday 15th May from 10.30 to 11.30 am. Children from the playgroup will have an opportunity to learn about Spanish culture, learn some of the language and try some flamenco dancing. Later that day, between 12.30 and 2pm, the Claudy community will also be encouraged to take part in a Strictly Come Claudy event at the Learmount Church Hall when lessons in Bollywood and Flamenco dancing will be held along with some lunch. The fun doesn’t stop there as later that evening, children from the Nest Afterschools Club at the Diamond Centre, Claudy will be encouraged to learn about Spanish and Indian cultures as part of a Culture in the Nest event taking place between 3.30 and 4.30pm.
On Wednesday, May 16th, an exciting piece of artwork developed by young people from Off the Streets, Newbuildings Youth Centre and the Travelling Community, which celebrates culture and identity and the coming together of diverse communities, will be unveiled at 4pm.
A special event aimed at exploring the legacy and impact of the Troubles on Men will be held at the Verbal Arts Centre, Bishop Street, on Wednesday 16 May between 12.30 and 2pm. Hosted by Derry City Council in partnership with the Mens’ Action Network, the event will see the launch of a publication developed through a series of workshops where local men discuss the legacy and impact of “The Troubles” on their lives, their relationships and their health.
On Thursday, 17 may between 10.30 and 11.30 am, the Tower Hotel will host an event profiling the services provided by EPIC and Teach na Failte who work on behalf of ex-prisoners and their families.
Community Relations Week 2012, which takes place from May 14 to May 20, organised by the Community Relations Council, with the theme ‘No More Them and Us?’ Over 150 events will take place across all local council areas making this the biggest event in the community relations calendar.
Tony McCusker, CRC Chair welcomes the progress made in the ten years since Community Relations Week began in 2003 but stresses the continued need to tackle difficult issues: “The vision of a society which has moved beyond ‘Them and Us’ still has to be turned into reality. Taking part in Community Relations Week events is an active way of demonstrating your dedication to peace building.”
A full listing of Community Relations Week events can be found at www.nicrc.org.uk and printed programmes can be obtained from local libraries. Information on events in the Derry City Council area are available at www.derrycity.gov.uk/goodrelations