Youth workers’ and volunteers’ from Clann Eireann Youth Club and Lurgan Youth Annexe facilitated a celebration night as part of their collaborative Community Relations project at the Lough Neagh Discovery on Wednesday 12th September.
43 young people participated in the project during the year. Guests at the celebration event included parents, youth workers’ teachers, and representatives from local political parties. Mayor of Craigavon, Carla Lockhart opened the proceedings with further input provided by Ms Jenifer Wheelan, Deputy Director of Peace and Reconciliation Fund DFA Dublin (project funder), Minister for Education, Mr John O Dowd, MLA and Professor Pete Shirlow from Queens University, Belfast, School of Law.
Contributions from the speakers congratulated the young people on their achievements and success by highlighting the impact of community relations work across Lurgan town.
An edited version of a DVD produced by LJHSTV (Lurgan Junior High School) was launched by Jennifer Wheelan, Dept of Foreign Affairs (Dublin) providing guests with insight of both Single Identity and Cross-Community contact programmes in which the young people participated.
Pete Shirlow commended the young people for their willingness to engage with one another by demonstrating respect, promoting acceptance and celebrating the diversity that exists within a culture of shared history.
Education Minister John O’Dowd congratulated the young people and presented them with their certificates. It was evident from speaking to guests that programmes which attempt to deal with issues of sectarianism, racism and prejudice can help move towards a shared future. Project staff would like to thank everyone who enabled the project to be a huge success setting the benchmark for future cross-community engagement in Lurgan.
Clann Eireann Youth Club and Lurgan Youth Annexe aim to continue supporting young people from both communities by developing positive and meaningful relationships. The evening concluded with a meal which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.