Pictured launching Good Relations Week 2021 is Martin McDonald MBE, Chair of the Community Relations Council (centre) and local young people Aaron Smith (left) and Esraa Hamido (right).
Local groups and organisations in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area are encouraged to get involved as part of the physical and virtual celebrations of Good Relations Week 2021.
Good Relations Week 2021 will celebrate and shine a light on the peace building and cultural diversity efforts of young people and the challenges they are facing.
This year Good Relations Week will run from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September 2021 with a colourful programme of face-to-face events, alongside an expanded online offering of virtual events and online content and it wants everyone Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area to get involved.
Co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council, Good Relations Week is the largest showcase of cross community and multi-cultural arts, history, music and discussion on the island of Ireland.
The theme for this year’s showcase is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ which celebrates the efforts of young people in their everyday lives to break down barriers, unite communities and act as a catalyst for meaningful change in our society.
It will also explore how society can better meet the needs of young people and some of the difficult issues affecting their lives today, including mental health, isolation, education, and abuse motived by sectarianism, racism, and other forms of identity hatred.
This year’s programme will be a blend of face-to-face events, virtual events and digital content, including workshops, lectures, discussion panels and music and theatre performance.
The Community Relations Council is encouraging local community groups, voluntary organisations, statutory bodies, businesses in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area to get involved and host a face-to-face or virtual event that showcases their outstanding good relations efforts.
Martin McDonald MBE, Chair of the Community Relations Council, said: ““Good Relations Week 2021 is putting a strong emphasis on our young people by showcasing the range of projects and initiatives they are involved in on a day-to-day basis to tackle sectarianism and racism and promoting cultural diversity in their local communities – all aimed at building brighter days ahead for everyone.
“Thanks to lockdown restrictions easing, the return of in-person events is closer than ever, so we have adopted a flexible approach to the delivery of a program of events in 2021.
“Good Relations Week 2021 will embrace the re-introduction of face-to-face events - all delivered in a way that is safe and guided by the most up to date health advice. We will also continue to expand our on-line offering through virtual and hybrid events."
Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council added: “During the coronavirus pandemic we have all had to come to terms with a vastly different way of life that has put strain on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of everyone, including young people.
“We hope Good Relations Week 2021 will shine a light on the great contribution made by young people, support them in the challenges they are facing today, and encourage them to look ahead.
“People are eager to get back to face-to-face interactions, so we hope to re-introduce that option in a safe way. We are planning a programme that will be a mix of virtual and hybrid events that will allow us to safely offer the option of some in-person experiences.
“We want to give everyone the chance to be part of this year’s celebrations, so we encourage all organisations and people to get involved as your face-to-face or online event and digital content can cover any aspect of good relations work and doesn’t have to focus specifically on work with young people.
Good Relations Week is supported by The Executive Office and contributes to delivering the Together: Building a United Community Strategy. The week is organised by a steering committee comprising Department for Communities, Department of Justice, Education Authority, Libraries NI, Cathedral Quarter Trust and The Nerve Centre.
For more information on the Good Relations Week 2021 and to register your event visit: www.goodrelationsweek.com.