Celebration of diversity in age

A patchwork quilt of Rangoli rice paper artwork was created at the MEAAP and IEF event.
A patchwork quilt of Rangoli rice paper artwork was created at the MEAAP and IEF event.

Fun, laughter and creativity was all on show in the Tullyglass House Hotel on February 9 when over 200 older people were came together to celebrate the wide diversity of cultures in the borough.

The event, which commenced with the launch of a local research report into the needs of older ethnic minority communities and older people in the area, showed that the needs of all older people in Mid and East Antrim are similar, with money worries, fear of crime, health and loneliness being the top four concerns.

The report went on to note that whilst needs may be similar, older people from ethnic minority communities tend to face additional cultural and language barriers, which make it more difficult and therefore less likely for many to access the help and support they need to age well in our community. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Mayor Audrey Wales told the gathering, it is the Council’s vision that “Mid and East Antrim will be a strong, vibrant, safe and inclusive community, where people work together to improve the quality of life for all. Hence we are delighted to have supported such a valuable piece of research and celebration which will help contribute to this vision.”

As well as dance, the event also featured an opportunity for a colourful patchwork quilt of Rangoli rice paper artwork to be created, having giving every audience member the opportunity to create an individual tile.

Other multi-cultural workshops included henna tattooing, Polish Papercutting and also creating an origami rooster as it is the “Chinese Year of the Rooster”.

MEAAP Project Coordinator, Deirdre McCloskey noted this was all thanks to the support of the local community networks and funding assistance from the Mid & East Antrim Borough Council Good Relations Programme, the Public Health Agency Mental & Emotional Wellbeing & Suicide Prevention Small Grants Scheme administered by South Antrim Community Network and the Big Lottery.