Belfast Telegraph

‘Roaring’ start for Chinese New Year

By Michael Bashford

The Chinese New Year got off to a ‘roaring’ start in Ards this week with a lion dance at the Arts Centre.

In the first event of its kind in the area, members of the local Chinese community were joined by people from other ethnic minority communities, as well as local councillors and representatives from the public, voluntary and community sector, to mark the beginning of the ‘Year of the Tiger’ on Tuesday.

The event was organised by Ards Borough Council in partnership with the Chinese Welfare Association and the Ards Intercultural Forum, an umbrella body for public sector bodies which aims to help ethnic minority groups access local services.

The Mayor of Ards, Councillor William Montgomery, said the event was about more than a one-off celebration.

“Ards has had a large Chinese community for many years and in recent times, we have also welcomed other ethnic minority groups to our area, so it’s important that we learn about and celebrate other cultures,” he said.

“However, this event also gives the council and other public sector agencies an opportunity to forge stronger links with ethnic minority communities in an informal setting, as well as to discuss and address some of the practical difficulties which people can encounter, such as the barriers language can create when trying to access services or to meet the requirements of business regulations.”

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