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Causeway Coast and Glens

New Good Relations Schools Resource Explores History, Identity, Democracy and Equality

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Fielding pictured at Cloonavin with Good Relations Officer Joy Wisener to mark the launch of the new ‘Hide or Seek?’ resource which is now available for post-primary schools.

A new post-primary schools’ resource is now available from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Good Relations team as part of its programme to encourage youth participation in building a shared and cohesive society.

Originally produced in 2015, as a joint project between the four legacy Councils, this latest version of ‘Hide or Seek?’ comes in the form of two booklets: one for pupils and one for their teacher.

The material examines history, identity, democracy and equality, and has been updated this year to reflect the wide range of political opinion that exists locally.

The booklets are part of a wider initiative which encourages emerging leaders from across the Borough to have greater engagement with politicians and those from different community backgrounds.

Informing Young People

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Mark Fielding, said: “Helping our young people to engage with the many issues that affect life in our Borough, including the varying political opinions that shape local decision-making, is vital.

“We hope that this resource will help to inform young people about the various perspectives that exist throughout the Borough, and encourage them to play an active role in local democracy and in building a shared community.”

The updated resource will be distributed to post-primary schools throughout the Borough and is designed primarily for use with Citizenship classes in schools, as well as youth groups and their leaders.

The launch and distribution of the new “Hide or Seek?” booklets is also part of Council’s NI100 programme which contributes to building a shared understanding of our collective history as well as building for our future together.

Causeway Coast and Glens

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s centenary civic gift continues throughout 2021

centenary civic gift

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council wants to remind people about its centenary civic gift initiative.

A bespoke coin will be presented to all residents of the borough, along with businesses or organisations, who celebrate their 100th birthday in 2021 as part of Council’s programme of events to mark 100 years of Northern Ireland.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes, explained: “Several presentations have taken place since the beginning of the year and Council is keen to identify as many eligible recipients as possible.

“If you know someone who will reach the age of 100 this year, please let us know so we can mark their birthday or anniversary in this unique way.

“The coin has been designed to commemorate Northern Ireland’s centenary and we want to celebrate this significant occasion by recognising our oldest residents and institutions.

The scheme applies to all centenary birthdays and anniversaries from January 1st 2021 until December 31st 2021.

If you want to nominate an eligible recipient then email mayorsoffice@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk or ring 028 7034 7010.

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Causeway Coast and Glens

Rathlin Island’s Ambitious Carbon Neutral Plans

Minister Edwin Poots meets with Kate Burns on Northern Ireland’s first and only commercial seaweed farm. Photo Credit: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA has visited Rathlin Island to see its wide variety of seabirds and hear of the Island’s ambitious plans to become carbon neutral.

During his visit, Minister Poots met with representatives from The Rathlin Development and Community Association who have a strong ambition for the Island to become carbon neutral and have been exploring a number of renewable energy options.

The Association is a partner in the Clean Energy for EU islands project, which aims to provide a long-term framework to help islands generate their own sustainable, low cost energy; resulting in reduced energy costs and greatly increased production of renewable energy; better energy security for islands, which will be less reliant on imports; improved air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and less impact on islands’ natural environments, as well as the creation of new jobs and business opportunities, boosting the islands’ economic self-sufficiency.

Welcoming the Island’s ambitions, Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to visit Rathlin and meet with the local community. I admire Rathlin’s strong ambition to reduce emissions and become carbon neutral, this is aligned to my vision for Green Growth and climate action and I very much welcome the Island’s efforts to realise this goal.”

Minister Edwin Poots with Chief Fisheries Officer Mark McCaughan and Principal Scientific Officer Colin Armstrong viewing the thousands of seabirds comprising razor-bills, guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes and puffins. Photo Credit: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Rathlin Island is also Northern Ireland’s most important seabird colony and in summer the sea cliffs and sea stacks provide nesting sites for a variety of seabirds, including nationally important colonies of guillemot, razorbill and kittiwake.  Northern Ireland’s largest populations of puffin also breed among the grassy slopes of the cliff ledges. During his visit, the Minister enjoyed a boat trip to observe the puffins and other iconic seabirds at their nesting site. The protected breeding seabird colonies are considered to be at risk, due to a number of external factors including milder winters and the lower availability of small fish.

Much of Rathlin Island and the seas around it are protected areas and while this restricts some activities, the Rathlin community is keen to recognise that the development and promotion of Rathlin tourism and environmental products is key to growth of the island economy.

Commenting on this, Minister Poots said: “I recognise the issues that Rathlin faces, both from external and internal factors, and I remain committed to working with the local Community, RSPB and other partners to deliver collaborative community led-projects that provide long term protection for the Island’s seabirds and, importantly, supports community recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My Department has provided funding of £38,000 over the past year for environmental activities on Rathlin, including £8,000 to RSPB for a community engagement officer and £30,000 to Causeway Coastal and Glens Heritage Trust to develop a seabird recovery project for the Island. This funding has enabled them to work with the Rathlin community on the development of projects to protect and restore seabird populations on the island.  It has also enabled Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust to work with Rathlin farmers on other environmental projects, including the management of geese on farmlands.”

Minister Poots meets with chairman of Rathlin Development and Community Association, Michael Cecil to hear about the island’s long term goal go Carbon neutral and test emerging renewable technologies on the Island. Photo Credit: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

The seas around Rathlin are rich in biodiversity and is an important Marine Protected Area featuring reefs, sea caves, sandbanks, seals, various bird species, deep-sea habitat, maritime cliffs and geological structures. This includes kelp, seagrass and maerl that are natural carbon stores, often referred to as blue carbon habitats, and considered to be as important as peatlands.

Concluding, Minister Poots said: “Rathlin Island and the seas surrounding it provide significant economic opportunities and it is important that these are explored and developed whilst maintaining the environmental ethos of the Island and ensuring the views of the Rathlin community are considered. The seas around Rathlin are rich in biodiversity and effective management of the marine protected area will protect and enhance these for future generations. I very much appreciate the work of the RDCA and the positive approach they have taken to working with nature.”

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