LOCAL public agencies in Down District have come together to explore how best to encourage community cohesion in Down during an event in the War Memorial Hall, Crossgar.
On Tuesday 28th June 2011, the Down District Policing Partnership (DDPP) and Down Diversity in Action Forum (DDIAF) joined forces at a conference which was opened by Down District Policing Partnership Chairman, Councillor William Dick. They heard how working and living in a diverse community places increased emphasis on the need to adapt services and share local facilities.
Councillor Dick said, “The DPP, along with other key agencies are keen to highlight how a community can maximise the resources that already exist on their doorsteps. For example, the Policing Partnership met last week in St Mary’s High School, Downpatrick for their public meeting and were delighted that the Principal and Board of Governors agreed to open their facilities in order to meet the needs of the wider community – this is the way forward for a lot of communities who perhaps do not have a dedicated community hall to hold events in.” Karen Eyben from Integrated Education Fund (IEF) also encouraged people to look at their community in different ways and in particular school resources.
Diversity Forum Chairman, Liam Gunn (NIHE) then highlighted some of the key events and programmes rolled out through the year that were developed to specifically address diversity issues in Down, these included; World Cup Cultural Challenge with local schools, Sharing Cultures Events and a number of Advice Road shows.
The event was attended by a large number of local agency representatives, community organisations and people from minority ethnic communities who also enjoyed a presentation from Inspector Martin Trainor who said, “The PSNI in Down are committed to furthering the aims and objectives of the DDIAF.
“We are keen to continue to work in partnership, promoting equality and diversity. It is great to see how much can be achieved when communities and partners work together, helping to create a shared future.”