Two community groups celebrate difference

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Glenravel District Community and Residents Association (GDCRA) and Richmount Rural Community Association (RRCA) Portadown are two forward thinking community groups who are testament that celebrating difference is definitely not boring.

This unlikely relationship started last year when and Joe Garvey Chairperson of RRCA met Marian Maguire (Chairperson of GDCRA) during a best practice visit to Glenravel to discuss the development of an oil club which was and still is one of the Glenravel groups many successful projects.

Impressed by the group Joe secured funding from the Community Relations Council NI to embark on a cross community project with the Ballymena Group.

In October last year 50 of Glenravel’s “young at heart” group bussed it to Portadown to enjoy a day of hospitality as well as visiting sights such as Drumcree Church.

This year with support from Gillian Forrest Liaison Officer from Supporting Communities, the group secured funding for part 2 of the programme from OFMDFM through the Mid and East Antrim Council Good Relations Programme.

On Wednesday, March 2, the good people from the Richmount Rural Community Association braved the Ballymena weather and joined the Glenravel group for a Mayor’s Reception in the Braid Centre.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Council, Councillor Billy Ashe and Councillor Paul Maguire welcomed both groups. This was followed by a tour of the Glens, concluding with a Cultural event with plenty of food and laughter throughout the day

Cllr. Billy Ashe said: “It was a pleasure to host the members of this cross community group in the Parlour at The Braid. With funding from our Good Relations grant scheme, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been pleased to help the Supporting Communities initiative in organising this important programme.

“I hope the members of both Glenravel District Community and Residents Association and the Richmond Rural Community Association enjoyed their day out in Ballymena and their tour of the Glens.”

Marian Maguire from GDCRA said: “I would like to thank Gillian Forrest from Supporting Communities for helping us to secure the funding to make this event happen. I would also like to thank the Mid and East Antrim Council for providing the funding. Today has been so rewarding, it has been so good to work with the Portadown group who have completed so much in a short period of time and have inspired us, to build upon, and continue the good work we have started”.

Joe Garvey RRCA said: “We really appreciated the hospitality shown by MEA council and our friends from Glenravel. We welcome this opportunity to share our diversity and cultures. We strongly believe we should learn and respect each other’s cultures and we hope to be able to continue this with Glenravel and perhaps a few other groups in the near future”

Gillian Forrest Supporting Communities concluded: “This has been a super day full of fun and laughter with many friendships being forged.

Furthermore it was so good to be able to find out about each other’s culture in a safe and fun way. I felt so privileged to be a part of this day, and I am looking forward to part 3, to be continued.”