Claire Loughran is the Safer Communities and Good Relations Officer for Newry, Mourne and Down District council and sits on the Newry, Mourne and Down Intercultural Forum.
Here, she outlines what services are offered to Black and Minority Ethnic communities living in across the Newry, Mourne and Down Council area.
As a council, we are committed to building stronger, more integrated communities and help to enable all people to live within our District in a peaceful manner.
Recognising and celebrating all cultures is an aim across all our work, and this ethos is built into our action plan across all themes, including Our Shared Community and our cultural Expression. We want all areas of our community to be shared areas and feel welcoming to everyone.
Newry, Mourne and Down PCSP also deliver many programmes to the community and always ensure that all communities are included within our work. We have a specific theme called Community safety and Vulnerability where we develop activities aimed at increasing community safety amongst vulnerable persons including (but not limited to), minority communities and newcomer families.
We work in partnership with all the statutory, business and Community/Voluntary Sector groups to ensure that we can provide the best possible services to all our communities, regardless of background.
I have sat on Newry, Mourne and Down’s Intercultural Forum for approximately 4 years, in my previous post within Peace IV and more recently within the Community Safety and Good Relations role, the group have fantastic links with each other and it is a privilege to be involved.
Through my role in the forum, I want to be able to identify the needs of BME/BAME communities living within our district and show what services the council, and others have to offer.
I also want to be informed about what other agencies are doing in order that I can signpost individuals or groups to the correct agency support all communities.
Newry, Mourne and Down District council are the first and only council to have a dedicated Social Inclusion Officer. Artur Kmiecik is employed full time within council and I often seek advice or refer people to Artur.