Good Relations challenges sectarianism, racism, celebrates our rich cultural diversity and tries to find ways for us all to be able to live, work and socialise together without fear or mistrust.
Ards and North Down Borough Council is committed to promoting equality and good relations for everyone in the Borough. Equality, inclusivity, and diversity are placed at the core of all of the Council’s services and actions, as it strives to work towards achieving a shared future for all.
The Council delivers the Good Relations Programme as part of the N.I. Executive Offices’ wider ‘Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC)’ Strategy. It is funded jointly by the Executive Office and the Council. The key aims of the programme are to improve relations between and within District Council areas and to support local solutions to local good relations issues.
The Good Relations Programme works towards building relationships and working with all communities across the Ards and North Down Borough area. The Good Relations Programme is based on the Together: Building a United Community Strategy.
Information about new and current programmes will feature on this page.Check out the drop down menu at the bottom of the page for information on recent/past programmes. For more information or to register your place on any of the programmes please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: May 2022 - New Animations Exploring Racism and Sectarianism
The Good Relations Team at Ards and North Down Borough Council in collaboration with NEEP pictures have produced two new thought-provoking animated videos on the subjects of Racism and Sectarianism, why they still exist and what we as communities can do to tackle these problems in our communities.
What is Good Relations?
Good Relations promotes respect, equality and tolerance between different people who live in the same place. In society, people might have different religious beliefs, political opinions, ethnicity, age, marital status or sexual orientation.
Together: Building a United Community Strategy
Our Good Relations department published "Together: Building a United Community" Strategy which reflects the government's commitment to improving community relations and creating a more united and shared society.
The strategy explains how government, community and individuals will work together to build a united community and achieve change with the following priorities:
- children and young people
- our shared community
- our safe community
- our cultural expression
Shared Voices Programme - **Volunteer Opportunity**
We are currently recruiting Volunteers for our Shared Voices programme. Are you an immigrant to Northern Ireland or come from a different heritage? Would you like to share your story? Please visit Volunteer Now for more information on this great volunteering opportunity. You can learn more about the Shared Voices Programme below.
What is the Shared Voices programme?
The Shared Voices programme was developed with the assistance of First and Second generation immigrant volunteers and is aimed primarily at raising awareness of the diversity within our society.
What is the aim of the Shared Voices programme?
The Shared Voices programme aims to assist Good Relations and work towards making Ards and North Down Borough a shared and safe place for all.
Who is the programme for?
The programme is aimed primarily at for young people from P5 upwards primarily in a school environment and during 30 minute periods but can be adapted to be delivered within a community setting, to smaller groups and to different age groups. Times can be adjusted to what is available.
How can the Shared Voices programme help me?
This programme has been developed to raise awareness of the diversity in our society. The purpose of this programme is to challenge preconceived perceptions and myths that wider society may have towards immigrant minority groups. The programme will address these preconceptions through facts, figures, real life stories and interactive activities.
If you would like to deliver the Shared Voices programme in your school or community group we have developed a toolkit to enable you. The toolkit is available to download here. If you require assistance please email us email@example.com or call the team and we would be happy to help.
Audio Art Project Helps Syrian Community Share Sound Memories of Home
The Syria-Sound of Memory project, recently launched by Terra Nova Productions, was funded by Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Good Relations and the NI Executive Office. The project's aim was to work together with families arriving in the borough through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.
Syria-Sound of Memory uses music and sounds to recreate a lost audio world and bring alive memories of one perfect happy day in the city of Homs, Syria. The project was created with a script developed by our artistic director Andrea Montgomery, and a soundscape from composer Nicky Boyle and international audio artist Jeph Venger as well as input from participants (members of the Syrian community or those with connections to Syria) who recorded snatches of conversation and sounds on smartphones.
Working entirely via zoom, the project included support from Arabic/ English translator Ramy Aguib who helped artists and participants build new ways to try to understand each other as well as shape a work of art in each other’s unknown languages.
Syria-Sound of Memory will immerse listeners in a 14 minute audio experience including Arabic, framed in English, recorded by local participants, to help them understand what they are listening to. Through 5 pieces of original music and sounds, listeners will be transported to the city of Homs, Syria where they will visit the Khalid al ibn-Wallid Mosque gardens over the course of a single day (a popular beauty spot enjoyed by citizens of all religions before the war), stories of family, celebration and past joy taking place on the first day of Eid, a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.
You can listen to Syria Sound of Memory here: https://youtu.be/6RJaOv8Hm0A