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Mid and East Antrim

Local Groups in Mid and East Antrim celebrate ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ for Young People

Pictured with The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey is Martin McDonald, Chair of The Community Relations Council and Sophie Grier and Evie Dorrian from Uplift Performing Arts.

Local Groups in Mid and East Antrim will celebrate the peace building and cultural diversity efforts of young people and the challenges they face with a creative programme of cross-community and multicultural events as part of Good Relations Week 2021.

Good Relations Week 2021, co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council, will run from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September, with a mix of arts, history, music, sport and culture-based events from a diverse range of organisations across the region.

This year’s colourful programme will include the return of face-to-face events, alongside an expanded online offering of virtual events and digital content. This will include workshops, lectures, panel discussions, feature talks, podcasts, film, music and dance performances, storytelling and exhibitions.

The theme for Good Relations Week 2021 is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ which celebrates the efforts of young people in their everyday lives to break down barriers, unite communities and act as a catalyst for peace building and cultural diversity in our society.

It will explore how society can better meet the needs of young people and explore the issues affecting their culturally diverse lives today, including sectarianism and racism, dealing with the continuing impact of the past, mental health, isolation, education, faith, the pandemic, and the environment.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “We’re proud to be supporting Good Relations Week for yet another year. We hope this week of events will inspire new ideas and promote respect and understanding in our future generations. Armed with these skills and knowledge, there is no stopping our young people.

“Good Relations Week is an excellent opportunity to celebrate all aspects of our culture and heritage, promote cultural diversity and work together to address sectarianism and racism. It’s also important for many young people who have faced isolation this past year, to reconnect and learn from their peers to foster a future that is truly beneficial to them and their local communities.”

Martin McDonald MBE, Chair of the Community Relations Council, says: “Good Relations Week 2021 will showcase over 200 highly entertaining events that will shine a light on ground-breaking projects and initiatives that tackle sectarianism and racism and promote cultural diversity – all aimed at building brighter days ahead for everyone.

“We are delighted that over 100 different event and content organisers have embraced our ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ theme and helped to shape a truly remarkable Good Relations Week 2021 that demonstrates imagination, enthusiasm, and commitment to building a united community in our everyday lives.”

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council adds: Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this year’s dynamic programme of events, helping to make Good Relations Week a modern celebration of our diverse culture and heritage.

“We are once again thrilled to be able to deliver this showcase of cross community and multi-cultural arts, history, music and culture. We have a packed programme of face-to-face and virtual events, as well as online material. There is so much to attend, watch and experience, don’t miss it! I would encourage everyone to plan their week of events by checking out the programme at www.goodrelations.com.”

Good Relations Week is co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council and supported by The Executive Office. It contributes to delivering the Together: Building a United Community Strategy. The Community Relations Council co-ordinates the week with the support of a Steering Committee comprising of The Executive Office, Department for Communities, Department of Justice, Education Authority, Libraries NI, Cathedral Quarter Trust and The Nerve Centre.

For more information on the Good Relations Week 2021 programme of events visit www.goodrelationsweek.comor keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #GRW2021.

Mid and East Antrim

Support your Local Craftspeople this Christmas

Support our local #MEArtists and craftspeople this Christmas  – that’s the message from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council as the Borough prepares for the busy Christmas shopping period in the weeks ahead.

Following a motion which was brought to Council by Alderman Audrey Wales MBE, Council is encouraging shoppers to consider purchasing handmade arts and craft produce as gifts for friends and family this year.

Alderman Wales said: “In Mid and East Antrim we are blessed with a wonderful array of exceptionally talented artists and craftspeople, each producing exquisite, artisan crafts and produce.

“Their wares make for the most thoughtful gifts for any occasion – be it a special ‘piece of home’ for friends or family living abroad, or simply a beautiful display of intricate craftmanship, often using materials sourced from across the Borough.

“Our local artists and craftspeople are crucial to the culture and heritage of Mid and East Antrim and, as they continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, we are encouraging local shoppers this Christmas to show their support by giving the gift of local craft,” she continued.

“Council, too, remains strongly committed to doing everything we possibly can to support our local artists and craftspeople, and to encouraging a thriving arts scene in Mid and East Antrim.”

The work of several local craftspeople is exhibited and available to purchase in the Visitor Information Centre at Council’s Ballymena headquarters at The Braid, including:

  • Vera McCullough Jewellery – bespoke jewellery inspired by Slemish Mountain, the surrounding Antrim Hills and the lush Northern Irish countryside. Vera was commissioned to design a brooch and cufflinks to be presented to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their visit to Mid and East Antrim in 2019.
  • WB Woodcraft –items crafted from local, exotic and reclaimed wood and materialsThe range includes birdhouses and feeders, fairy doors and houses, wooden bells, Christmas decorations and postboxes.
  • Lucy Craig Textiles – heritage items such as letters, photographs and other memorabilia preserved onto textiles and combined with hand embroidery to enhance and personalise the work.
  • Country Slate Gifts –unique handmade slate gifts for the home and garden, all of which can be tailored to specific customer requirements.
  • Precious Pebble Art – custom made art and gifts for every occasion, made using local pebbles collected from the North Coast.

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Mid and East Antrim

Carrickfergus Castle Children’s Book Depicts its History through the Eyes of a Child

A Carrickfergus grandfather’s adventures with his grandson have inspired the release of a new book called ‘Danny’s Visit to Carrickfergus Castle’.

Bob Harper, from the town, has written the book after many visits to the castle with his grandson prompted questions about its history.

The book details interesting facts and also is beautifully illustrated by Bob.

It takes children on a journey through the castle allowing them to learn as they go.

Speaking about its launch, Bob said he wanted to depict the history of the castle through a child’s eyes and make it an easy, enjoyable learning experience.

“I enjoy many adventures with my grandson around Carrickfergus which is steeped in history, none more so than the stunning Carrickfergus Castle,” Bob said.

“I wanted to create a book for children that would make it enjoyable for them to learn and give them facts that they would always remember.”

The book talks about how Carrickfergus was named after the Rock of Fergus and about the famous knight, John de Courcy, who built the majestic castle which proudly sits on Belfast Lough.

Alderman Billy Ashe MBE congratulated Bob on the publication said it was an “excellent concept for a story and a great way to educate our children on the history of the borough”.

“We are always trying to promote civic engagement for our younger generation and this book is a perfect way to do that,” he added.

‘Danny’s Visit to Carrickfergus Castle’ will be available for purchase in Visitor Centres across the borough at a cost of £5.

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