A group of female politicians, including the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, have hosted a special event to give women a taste of political life in the borough.
The women from the EU PEACE IV funded Women Interacting, Sharing & Engaging (WISE) programme got to hear first-hand what life as a woman in local politics in Mid and East Antrim really involves.
The women had opportunities to ask the panel questions about their work, juggling family life and the demands of being a local councillor.
The discussion session at The Braid kicks off a series of visits for the 33 female participants.
The WISE programme provides a range of training workshops, reflective learning sessions and educational visits.
Women’s groups have been set up in Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena for participants aiming to get more involved in their local community and aspiring to be civic leaders of the future.
Mayor, Cllr Lindsay Millar, congratulated the participants: “WISE is one of 14 Peace IV programmes being rolled out across the borough through the MEA Peace IV Partnership.
“This particular programme is a fantastic opportunity for local women to come together, share experiences, celebrate cultural diversity and build strong networks across Mid and East Antrim.
“One of my goals as Mayor was to open the Office up to more women in politics so I’m really chuffed to be involved in this. We enjoyed hosting the participants and look forward to hearing of their future successes in their communities.”
Speaking about the programme, Audrey Murray MBE from Larne-based LEDCOM (Local Economy Development Company), said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the Mid and East Antrim Peace IV Partnership as a delivery partner for the WISE programme.
“The programme has brought together participants from a wide range of backgrounds to explore a woman’s role in peace building – past, present and in the future – so that the women can take these learnings and apply them to their own community’s development.
“Local government is important for everyone and it was fantastic for us to have the opportunity to see it in action, especially this year when we have a young, female Mayor serving as an inspiration to others.
“We extend thanks to the Mayor and the elected members who hosted our participants, it was a stimulating and informative debate, which has inspired the woman who attended.”
WISE is a project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
The WISE Project is an initiative under the Building Positive Relations Programme of the Mid & East Antrim Borough Council Local Action Plan.