Sectarianism tackled at Seaview
Published: Mon, 3 Sep 2012
Around 200 girls and boys from interface areas across Belfast recently came together for a soccer sevens tournament at Seaview Stadium in North Belfast.
The event, which was held on the 14th of August, was organised by the Suffolk Lenadoon Interface Group (SLIG) and was funded by our Community Cohesion Unit and the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council.
The tounament, which is now in its second year, is aimed at cultivating and sustaining positive relations at a local level right across the city. So, as well as competing on a round robin and knockout basis, the children will also attend Good Relations Workshops focusing on the similarities and differences between their communities.
Neill McKee from SLIG commented, “Real progress is being made day in day out in interface areas across the city, so today is all about building on the positive relationships that already exist as well as forging new ones. We highlight the similarities and differences that exist between interface communities, dispel myths and misconceptions and try to break down some of the barriers that are synonymous with a segregated society.”
Our Director of Housing and Regeneration Gerry Flynn said,“The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey highlighted that over 80% of people aspire to live in a mixed neighbourhood, so it is essential that the development of positive relations at a local level, regardless of religion or ethnic background, is at the heart of what we do as an organisation. That is why projects like this are so important to us. Not only are they fun but they give the children an opportunity to see at first hand what it would be like living in a shared community. And, if we uncover the next Jonny Evans or Chris Brunt along the way that would be a bonus!”
Bebhinn McKinley, Policy Officer with NI Community Relations Council added, “CRC have been working through the Interface Working Group and Interface Community Partners for several years to create the conditions to transform and regenerate interface areas. The environment has changed significantly recently and we have seen substantial progress. Through this project SLIG have again demonstrated their commitment to improving relationships and supporting young people in interface areas.”
Tony McCusker, Chair of NI Community Relations Council added, “CRC is pleased to support this initiative and the work to build better relationships between communities, particularly involving young people.”
Gerry Flynn also expressed his thanks to Crusader’s Football Club for hosting the event. Teams from the following interface areas participated:
- Inner East Belfast
- Lower Ormeau
- Sandy Row
- Waterworks (North Belfast)
Immaculata (Falls) won the Under 13 boys, Inner East won the Under 16 Boys and Waterworks won the Under 16 Girls.