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Press Release - 24 September 2021
The streets of Cookstown were filled with sounds and sights of the many cultures that make up the local area, as the Cookstown Cultural Parade made its way from the Burn Road to Burnvale Crescent, a shared housing development in the town.
The parade, which was accompanied by the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr Paul McLean, marked Good Relations Week and was a celebration of the many cultures that make up the community in Cookstown and the wider Tyrone area. Organised by Radius Housing and Clanmil Housing, in partnership with the HUB in Cookstown, the aim of the Cultural Parade was to give locals the chance to experience some of the most exciting parts of cultures from near and far, with music and dance from across the globe. Among those parading were young people from the surrounding area, who spent the last few weeks learning how to play Samba drums.
The celebrations were facilitated by a partnership between Radius Housing and Clanmill Housing as part of their good relations work. The parade concluded at Burnvale Crescent, a shared housing development in Cookstown which is managed by Radius Housing.
The project is supported through the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy, which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society. Burnvale Crescent in Cookstown is also supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
Clanmil is working on delivering a new shared neighbourhood in Cookstown and is purchasing 15 properties in Molesworth Street. These will be made available for tenants in winter 2022. The new development is being promoted as a shared neighbourhood where everyone is valued and respected.
Speaking at the event, Geraldine Dougan from Radius Housing said “The Cookstown Cultural Parade is a celebration of the wide range of cultures that make up the community here. Cookstown is a place that goes far beyond the traditional cultural experience, and the community has welcomed families from right across the globe. The parade is a chance for people to show off their own native music and dance, in a colourful celebration of what makes this town great.
“At Radius we want to help build strong communities, and we see the chance to celebrate and learn about other cultures as a central element of making a community a welcoming place to live. We are particularly pleased that so many young people and residents from Burnvale Crescent have got involved, as we wanted this to be a shared event for the people of Cookstown and to provide a space where diversity can be celebrated for the children and the wider community. We are delighted that the Chair of the Council, Cllr Paul McLean was able to lead the parade, and that so many people have come out to support this work.”
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean, added “This year’s Good Relations Theme is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’, and that is certainly something that we all hope for especially given the COVID-19 related challenges of recent months.
“Good relations across all parts of our community are an essential ingredient of building a prosperous, peaceful and safe society which is enriched by diversity and is welcoming to all. At the core of creating ‘good relations’ for all is respect- it is fundamental in understanding, accepting and building relationships with all cultures and identities in our community.
“Tackling the twin blights of sectarianism and racism, in addition to other forms of intolerance, is vital in shaping a shared and cohesive community that can move forward, and collectively face the challenges of an ever-changing world.”
Austin Kelly of Clanmil Housing said “Clanmil is delighted to work in partnership with Radius and the local community to hold this multi-cultural event. It is great to see the culmination of months of planning coming together in this vibrant celebration of music, dance and fun activities. I hope that everyone has enjoyed the music and dancing and this chance to experience a little of the many cultures that make up the town.”
“At Clanmil we’re committed to working with others to strengthen communities and to providing shared housing that gives people the choice of living with neighbours from many backgrounds and traditions. We’re really looking forward to welcoming tenants to our new shared neighbourhood in Cookstown next year.”
The Burnvale Crescent shared housing development in Cookstown is also supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. £3m was invested in the scheme’s development and associated five-year Good Relations Plan. Radius currently has nine shared housing developments across Northern Ireland.
The Burnvale Crescent Good Relations Plan includes Bridging events which are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes which include Health & Wellbeing and Education & Training.