Chris Hines Set to Inspire at Cultural Diversity Events in Newry and Downpatrick
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is rolling out an ethnic minority cultural diversity programme across the district. The programme, delivered by Beyond Skin — creative innovators in peacebuilding through the arts — will support anyone with a project idea centred on building positive relations and cultural diversity. The initiative, to be rolled out over the coming months, will allow those taking part to co-design and deliver a project within their own communities.
The programme called BLUEPRINT, is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and will comprise two inter-linked elements with arts and activism at the centre of the dialogue. The aim of BLUEPRINT is to engage, inspire and enable a diversity of people in the Newry, Mourne and Down area to develop and co-deliver their own community initiatives, events and projects that includes cultural celebrations. Participants will have an opportunity to work alongside professionals in music and arts, digital media, environment, food, health, conflict resolution, global development, youth work, event management, and education. Beyond Skin have drafted in a wealth of talent through various partners locally and internationally.
As part of the engagement and recruitment of participants to the programme, two inspirational sessions have been organised in Newry and Downpatrick with special guest speaker, Chris Hines. Chris is an environmental campaigner and a highly respected communicator and driver of positive change, resolved to finding solutions to problems. Formerly founder of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and Sustainability Director at the Eden Project, Chris will demonstrate how small groups of people can make a big difference within their communities and the wider society and will hopefully inspire those who attend to think of projects that they could deliver through the BLUEPRINT programme.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “The BLUEPRINT programme is a really positive initiative for our local communities, which the Council is pleased to deliver through EU PEACE IV funding. I look forward to hearing about the different transformational projects and events that will be delivered within the district throughout the coming months, through the support of Beyond Skin.”
Cllr Charlie Casey continued, “Chris Hines is an inspirational role model to many and these events are an exciting opportunity for any of our residents interested in cultural diversity within their community, to come along and hear how even they can make a difference.”
Chris Hines commented on his visit, “I was delighted to get the invitation from Beyond Skin to come to Northern Ireland to do some talks and workshops. We live in times that can feel very scary as we become increasingly aware of the fragility of our planet and the level of destruction that we have wreaked. But I’m an activist and an optimist. I’ve been lucky to be part of a campaign that helped deliver massive environmental change and am keen to share that knowledge and the lessons I’ve learnt over 30 years of campaigning. I know we have the skills, ingenuity and passion to turn things around so that we can all live in harmony with each other and this planet that we all call home.”
Anyone inspired to bring about local change can come along to the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre on 21 February starting at 6pm or Down Arts Centre on 22 February at 1pm. Tickets for the events are free from www.beyondskin.net/blueprint and facilitators from Beyond Skin will be on hand to register your interest in developing and delivering your own cultural diversity community project.
The sessions with Chris Hines are the first in the series of ‘inspire’ workshops with other special guests and events to be announced. More information about BLUEPRINT will be shared at these events.
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.