Network treats groups to a 'lovely day' in Bangor
A group of children from north Belfast have been swept away to the seaside in a bid to take the saltiness out of relations between young people in the area.
Those involved (and this journalist) are all too far too young to remember the song by Fiddler's Dram – Day trip to Bangor (Didn't we have a lovely time) – but 43 children and ten local women from Ardoyne and Glenbryn certainly had a lovely time in Bangor last Friday.
The cross community day trip to M&D's was organised as part of the Ardoyne Alliance Local Area Network Programme.
This programme is facilitated by the Housing Executive and is part financed by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund through the PEACE III Programme and Belfast City Council's Good Relations Partnership administers the funding available to Belfast.
John Read, the Housing Executive's Local Area Network Co-Ordinator said: "The aim of the Local Area Network Programme is to develop positive relations at a local level, regardless of religion or ethnic background, as well as securing shared city space.
"I believe that trips like this really do go a long way in achieving that aim. On the day the children not only got to meet and engage with young people from other areas but they had fun at the same time.
"The trip also provided a chance for the women who attended to have a cup of tea and a chat in a relaxed environment; this of course is the recipe for building genuine friendships.
"Indeed, we already have plans for other events and initiatives that will not only maintain but will build upon the positive relationships that have been formed as a result of this trip," added John Read.
The Ardoyne/Alliance Local Area Network is made up of representatives from The Wishing Well, North Belfast Women's Initiative and Support Project, Grace Women's Development and the Upper Ardoyne Community Partnership.
Community worker Colette McCann said: This was a great opportunity for local children from both sides of the community to meet each other and share a childhood experience.
"This would not have been possible without the help of the Ardoyne Alliance Local Area Network."