Corrymeela leader encourages local groups to seek ways to bridge gap between communities

Konrad Pawlaszek, Arts Ekta; Betty Gillespie and Anne Watson, Newtownabbey Senior Citizens' Forum; Donna Nanukas, Beyond Skin and Stella Tsang and Wei Hong, Arts Ekta at the Bridging Our Community Gap event held at Mossley Mill. INNT 40-501CON
Konrad Pawlaszek, Arts Ekta; Betty Gillespie and Anne Watson, Newtownabbey Senior Citizens' Forum; Donna Nanukas, Beyond Skin and Stella Tsang and Wei Hong, Arts Ekta at the Bridging Our Community Gap event held at Mossley Mill. INNT 40-501CON
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Fifty years after Martin Luther King’s iconic ‘I have a dream’ speech, on the eve of International day of Peace 2013, Inderjit Bhogal, leader of the Corrymeela Community, shared his dream of a shared and better future in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the recent celebration and showcase event for the Bridging Our Community Gap programme, he spoke of peace as a pathway to reconciliation and the need for our communities to find mechanisms to bridge the gap.

The event, which was held at Mossley Mill, was the culmination of a two year programme supporting projects, workshops and events across the CAN (Carrickfergus, Antrim and Newtownabbey) area. Funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III), Bridging Our Community Gap was designed to be a programme that would enable local people who may not have done so before to “dip their toe in the water” of peace and reconciliation activity.

Many groups and individuals who had never participated in community relations projects before came forward with ideas to build relationships and challenge attitudes. Participants in the projects took the opportunity to visit historical sites, to host events and to meet and work with new people.

Commenting on the programme, Mark Glover, Chair of the CAN PEACE III Partnership said: “The importance of taking that one small step into peace building cannot be underestimated. We live in communities which have been deeply affected by years of conflict and segregation. The mistrust and lack of understanding of other communities and cultures still remains and the Bridging Our Community Gap programme was always intended to recognise and address that challenge.”

Also unveiled at the event was a stunning mural by artist Sean O’Donnell. Based on photographs from projects and workshops with participating groups, the mural captures a range of workshops and events supported through the programme.

The mural will be on display in a number of venues over the coming months. Log on to www.canpeace3.org for more information.