How to share space at the Skegoneill interface
A NORTH Belfast cross-community organisation have created a shared space in the Skegoneill/Glandore area-ndash; answering with an emphatic 'yes', the question -ndash;Can local people come together and create shared space?
Over the past number of years the Skegoneill Glandore Common Purpose held events at the interface junction on what they term "common ground".
This has included festivities around holidays such as St Patrick's Day and Halloween. Today (Wednesday, December 19) Skegoneill and Glandore Common Purpose will hold their annual Christmas Lantern parade.
They are also planning to provide a Christmas dinner for the older neighbours and people living on their own in and around the Skegoneill and Glandore areas on Christmas day between 12-2pm -ndash; and it's not too late to book your place.
Sean Montgomery from SGCP stated: "We are taking names from now until the 21st of December and are interested in hearing from people who would like to come to the dinner and indulge in a bit of Christmas cheer.
"We are aware that not everyone is able to leave their house so Skegoneill -amp; Glandore Common Purpose is also offering to bring a Christmas dinner to your house".
The lantern parade will kick off at 6pm this evening at the Grove playing fields and will continue in a one mile loop.
Lantern making workshops have been underway with young people from across the communities led by volunteers.
Extra lanterns will be available on the night for those wishing to take part.
The parade will finish at the junction of Skegoneill and Glandore where the Christmas lights switch on will take place -ndash; this year the chairmen from Cliftonville and Crusaders football clubs will have the honour of switching the lights on.
SGCP has worked with the clubs over the past two years in relation to building good relations and ensuring the peaceful activities of supporters to and from matches.
Chair of Crusaders Football Club, Stephen Bell said: "The two clubs will be there on the night to demonstrate our commitment to building good relations and working with the local community.
"Our team Captains turned on the Christmas lights last year and we are delighted to be at the Christmas event this year."
John Walker from SGCP said: "Over the past two years we have continued to develop working relationships in a positive manner with the support from local residents and the clubs themselves.
"We are very aware of the concerns of residents, especially in relation to matches. We would like to recognise the positive leadership shown by the clubs and other organisations such as the HUBB."
Gerard Lawlor, Chair of Cliftonville Football Club said: "We have worked with SGCP and local residents in an effort to reduce tension around matches and feel that good work has been done so far.
"Both clubs believe that sport is a way to bring people together and whilst there are challenges there is a lot of good will and we are focused on building relationships and promoting respect."
After the parade Santa will be in his grotto waiting to hand out selection boxes and there will be hot drinks, music and face painting at the event.
Anyone interested in receiving a Christmas dinner is asked to contact Thornbush Community House, 9028 4040.