Lisburn & Castlereagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), in collaboration with local police, Good Relations and the Resurgam Trust, recently hosted an event called `Food for Thought` at Laganview Enterprise Centre, Lisburn.
The engagement event involved more than 60 adults and children from Syria, Poland and the local community.
A facilitator guided those in attendance on a number of key areas which included: What were the difficulties experienced when moving to Lisburn & Castlereagh?; What helped in settling into the area?; What challenges have been identified in moving forward?; How can the PCSP, police and local community assist in helping new residents to peacefully settle into the area?
The main points of the evening’s discussions will be used to formulate initiatives in assisting families to settle into the area and to ensure that everyone can live in harmony with their neighbours. The evening concluded with everyone sampling some international food from the countries represented at the event.
Alderman Michael Henderson MBE, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh PCSP, said: “The turnout was excellent, with individuals and families represented from Syria, Poland and the Lisburn & Castlereagh area. I experienced a genuine warmth in conversations between all of the participants involved. We will use the information gathered at this event in formulating new initiatives to ensure that people remain safe and secure whilst residing, working and socialising in our area.”
Superintendent Sean Wright, District Commander for Lisburn and Castlereagh, commented: “We are delighted to have been involved in this event. We are particularly pleased to assist in welcoming all those who have come to live in our community. This is a rich and diverse district and it is important that everyone feels included and supported. We look forward to working further with the council, PCSP and members of the community in the coming months.”
Alderman James Tinsley, Chairman of Leisure & Community Development, said: “Events such as this continue to strengthen and highlight the extremely positive work being delivered through our Good Relations team and builds on our partnership approach in supporting minority communities to engage, participate and contribute within communities across our council area. The Food for Thought event further develops our commitment to supporting, building and growing inclusive communities and complements previous projects, in particular our recent English programme and Arabic Cultural Awareness Day, both delivered at the Bridge Community Centre.”
Adrian Bird, Director of the Resurgam Trust, added: “The Resurgam Trust were delighted to host this event at the Laganview Enterprise Centre and welcome visitors from various parts of the world to sample good food and engage in conversation. It was interesting to learn about the challenges faced by foreign nationals as they attempt to integrate with our local community. This event also provided the opportunity for representatives of the local indigenous community to ask questions and learn about different cultures.”