Newry, Mourne and Down Intercultural Forum Blog Site Launch

SERC Newcastle Campus saw the launch of the Newry Mourne & Down Intercultural Forum’s blog site www.nmdif.org/blog which showcases the interagency partnership on the Forum committed to working together towards an inclusive community to create opportunities that embrace diversity. This project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The aim of the forum is to adopt a strategic approach to identify real needs of BME communities living in the district. The Intercultural Forum will seek to maximise resources and opportunities to promote equity, diversity and interdependence.

The Forum carries a vital civic leadership role in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area with the potential strength of collective voice and commitment to an inclusive society where citizens from a BME (BAME) background feel fairly treated, safe and recognized with all that they are and bring, being valued as a person and valuing others.

Partnership working and sharing vital information is already to the fore of the Forum’s purpose with both Health Trusts, Ethnic Minority Centre, PSNI, Advice NMD, Wah Help Chinese Community Association, SERC, SRC, Newry Chamber of Commerce, County Down Rural Community Network, Housing Executive and others having engaged across a strong diverse core group.

The Forum, supported by the Council through PEACE IV funding, has been in existence since 2018 and has grown in strength and purpose over this time. The health, social and financial pressures of Covid 19 and the growing complexities of Brexit in our border council area were unforeseeable when this forum was established. However, members of the BME community in Newry Mourne and Down have been particularly impacted by these continuing and complex events. In response to these challenges the Forums membership and its outreach increased as it responded to the evolving needs of our BME community and the impact that Covid and Brexit, in particular the EU Settlement Scheme, has on their health, social and educational opportunities, and on their right to remain in and contribute to the District. This year the Forum, identified that further meaningful engagement was required as a result of these challenges through the support of the forum through the Newry Mourne & Down Intercultural Forum Blog.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said: “ I would like on behalf of the Council and the PEACE IV team to thank Forsythe Consulting for the effective facilitation of the Forum, to RANE Digital Marketing and Kernaghan Consulting for their work on the creation of this online blog.” Cllr Mason also thanked Marian Fitzpatrick who gave a presentation at the launch on the importance of an online presence through blogs and social media helping to educate and advice the public on the Interagency BAME work currently undertaken by the forum and the agencies involved.

A big thanks from all to SERC who kindly hosted the event at the Newcastle Campus and especially SERC’s Adele Uprichard and Siobhán Fearon who helped to set up the event, and Siobhán who took the photograph.

Photo- L to R

Annie Clarke- SHSCT,
Rosemarie McDonnell – Advice NMD
Sophia Ervine – Housing Executive
Andrew Kernaghan – Kernaghan Consulting
Paul Yam- Wah Help Chinese Community Association
Cllr Cathy Mason- Chairperson Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
Jessica Gray Newry Chamber of Commerce
Marian Fitzpatrick- Marian Fitzpatrick Consultancy
Inspector Kelly Gibson PSNI (back)
Martina Byrne Vice chair of NMD PEACE Partnership
Front
Paula Nixon County Down Rural Community Network
Adele Uprichard SERC.

If you or your organisation would like to participate on the forum or you would like more information on the Forum, please contact the Forum by email nmdiforum@gmail.com or through the blog site at- www.nmdif.org/blog

Match funding for this project has been provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.