Courtesy of funding received via The Northern Ireland Executive Office and its’ Central Good Relations Fund for 2017/2018, Lisnaskea-based groups; South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) and Carosyl Community Association (comprising Carrowshee and Sylvan Hill estates in the Town) have been working together over the past year to develop and also deliver a groundbreaking cultural diversity project for older and younger people within the area.
Project Coordinator and SEFF employee Jenny Ferguson explains: “Over the past 7-8 months people from across the FULL community have been coming together to engage on cultural diversity-themed issues. It has been heartening to see the levels of participation right across the community and age spectrum. We have explored areas such as; The Great War, The Easter Rising, sport, music, language, the Loyal Orders and we have learnt the true history of historical events and the role of historical personalities and figures. The core purpose of the Project has been about learning together within a non-threatening environment, busting the myths and falsehoods which have aided sectarianism down the years”.
Meanwhile Kathleen Breen, Secretary of Carrosyl Community Association added: “All who participated in the Project are proud of their south Fermanagh roots, it is our shared home. It has been a positive project for all concerned, relationships have been renewed and also developed for the first time between the older participants and also it has been positive to see the levels of engagement within the youth. Our group has a history of working with others from across the community but often these groups have been some geographical distance from us, this Project was different in that participants live within the south Fermanagh area and we hope that there will be a sustainable legacy of relationships post this Project’s completion”.
Director of Services for SEFF Kenny Donaldson stated: “Throughout the Project there were times of debate and of variances in opinion but crucially people stayed with the process, people from across the community appeared to relish the opportunity of being able to reconnect or in some cases connect for the first time. SEFF remains committed along with Carrosyl Community Association to further develop relationships thus enabling people from across the south Fermanagh community to better understand one another. A good foundation is in place and there is a will to try to build upon that foundation. The Celebrating South Fermanagh Project has sought to engender respect for cultural diversity, that this is something to be celebrated and not feared,” concluded Mr Donaldson.
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