New programme aims to promote diversity, inclusion and respect

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THE Carrickfergus, Antrim and Newtownabbey (CAN) Peace III Partnership launched its Respect Programme in Glengormley on Thursday, May 17.

The event, which was held in the Barron Hall as part of Community Relations Week (May 14 - 19), was enhanced by a unique production of Aladdin by a group of young people from the Rathenraw area of Antrim, and the presentation of three pieces of innovative artwork by a local cross-community Girl Guide and Brownie pack.

The evening, hosted by Mayor Billy Webb, was designed to promote acceptance of diversity, inclusion and respect for others through a performance with a unique take on well known characters.

The Respect Programme will work to promote understanding, respect and opportunities for integration between communities of different religious belief, political opinion, ethnic and social background. It also aims to enable communities to increase their knowledge around cultural diversity; dispel myths and challenge perceptions; enhance the skills of groups to deliver cultural diversity programmes in the future; challenge racism and sectarianism; and work with families to promote social inclusion and respect for diversity in young children.

As part of the initiative, local groups will be invited to come up with innovative and unique events and programmes to address the various ‘Respect’ issues. Small pots of funding will be available to enable groups to deliver their programmes, with support from the programme’s project officer, Lynda Kennedy.

CAN Peace III Partnership Chairman, Mr Sam Crowe said: “We are very pleased to have the resources of the Respect Programme brought to the Carrickfergus, Antrim and Newtownabbey areas. This initiative provides us with the opportunity to build positive relations in the area through the integration and inclusion of all groups in our society, especially new migrants and their families. Not only do they bring a positive contribution to our economy, but add a new and welcomed dimension to the diversity within our communities.”

For more information about the work of the Respect Programme, contact Lynda Kennedy via email at lynda.kennedy@antrim.gov.uk or telephone 02894 463113 ext 1322.