If we work together we can build a united and safe place for everyone, says Carl Frampton
A host of local sports stars have gone on camera to call for a shared community spirit
Some of the biggest names in local sport are getting behind an initiative to help improve community relations in Northern Ireland.
Boxer Carl Frampton, Olympian Mary Peters, Ulster GAA, Ulster Rugby players including Tommy Bowe, Rory Best, and Charles Piutau, and leading footballers from the men's and women's game are just some of those backing this year's Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week.
The footballers include ambassadors for women’s football in Northern Ireland, Marissa Callaghan, who plays for Cliftonville Ladies, and Julie Nelson, who plays for Crusaders Strikers, as well as men’s players such as Michael McGovern, Josh Magennis and Corry Evans.
Featuring over 160 events between September 18 and 24, the week is intended to help build bridges, address division and raise awareness and understanding of cultural diversity. Events focus on issues including sport, the arts, young people, and cultural diversity.
Boxing hero Carl Frampton hopes the initiative can help bring people together.
He said: “This year I’m proud to back Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week as a celebration of teamwork across all our people. My goal in life is always to give it my best shot, no matter how tough it gets and by working together as a team we can achieve more. Please get involved as we want everyone to work together to build a united and safe community for everyone.”
The week is coordinated by the Community Relations Council (CRC). Its chief executive Jacqueline Irwin welcomed the sporting support.
"Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week has an important message, and it is fantastic to have the backing of such well known and popular faces to help us communicate it," she says.
“We want to draw attention to the work that is going on all the time to broaden and deepen our sense of safety and to create even more spaces that are shared by all of us. The week is an opportunity to showcase the ways in which people are making room for each other and getting involved in helping others feel safe to share sport, drama, film, food, arts, culture, music, debate, talks, tours and everything that can make life good here," she adds.
Diarmaid Marsden of Ulster GAA said: “Ulster GAA has a number of cross-community projects which aim to promote Gaelic games to those who may be unfamiliar with them while also encouraging schools and community groups to come together to learn, play and compete. Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week is an opportunity to promote understanding across the community about a wide range of issues and help create shared and safe places for everyone. Sport is a fantastic vehicle to help deliver this positive message.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital