A finale event has been held in Coleraine to mark the successful conclusion of the Peace IV Cultural and Language Institutions programme.
Hosted by the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Brenda Chivers, it provided an opportunity for participating groups to showcase their learnings from taster sessions including Highland Dancing, Irish Céilí Dancing, Bodhran playing, tin whistle lessons, Ulster Scots and Irish Language programmes.
The programme, managed by Limavady Community Development Initiative (LCDI), began in December 2017. Since then it has recruited over 100 residents and 600 school children, providing an opportunity to experience different cultures through music, dance, storytelling, heritage trails and historical visits.
The programme is part of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s £3.8m Local Authority Action Plan, which has been funded by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
Most recently, participants attended a three-day cultural cross-border visit to Dublin. The group enjoyed tours of the Battle of the Boyne site, Glasnevin Cemetery and Dublin Castle, with the highlight of the visit being a tour of Áras an Uachtaráin including an unexpected meet and greet with the President of Ireland, Mr Michael D Higgins.
Reflecting on the legacy of the programme and its impact on cross-community peace building and reconciliation, Programme Coordinator, Ashleen Schenning said: “As we see the programme near its end, we are hopeful that lasting relationships have been established and the smaller groups will continue working on programmes of common interest.
“We have already seen a group begin a creative writing course, from which they will produce a document penning their memories of the Peace IV programme. The participants, staff and volunteers on the Peace IV Culture and Language Programme would like to thank our Mayor for the opportunity to showcase the great work done over the last 14 months.”
The Mayor added: “This programme has proved to be hugely successful in bringing people together and showcasing cultural activities across the Borough. While we celebrate its completion I am hopeful that it will encourage further opportunities for collaboration. I would like to congratulate everyone who took part and contributed to its success.”