Residents in Mid & East Antrim held a celebration event last month to mark the completion of a shared history project, organised by the Housing Executive and funded via the PEACE IV Local Area Networks programme.
The ‘For Your Freedom and Ours’ project was delivered to 60 participants from the Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne Local Area Networks. Over a period of six weeks they were educated on the shared history of Polish service personnel, particularly the airmen, who were stationed here during the Second World War.
Stephen Gamble, Housing Executive Good Relations Officer for Mid & East Antrim, opened the event at the Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena and introduced Tomasz Tadla, the Deputy Consul for the Republic of Poland (in Belfast).
The audience also heard musician Katie Carr perform traditional Polish songs to the group before the Deputy Mayor, assisted by Tomasz Tadla, presented everyone with their certificates.
Maciek Bator, ‘For Your Freedom and Ours’ Programme Director, was also there to congratulate everyone on the completion of his course. He said:
“I developed this project as part of a series of shared history educational programme lectures, workshops and tours, to highlight the shared history between Northern Ireland and Poland.
“This project has been specifically tailored to raise cultural awareness, competence, inclusion, diversity and the positive impact of the Polish community and other BME (black and minority ethnic groups) on the social and economic situation in Northern Ireland.
“Thanks to the Housing Executive and Peace IV for giving me the opportunity to deliver this.”
Mid & East Antrim Deputy Mayor, Beth Adger MBE, was happy to be a part of the Local Area Network celebrations. She said:
“It was a pleasure to present certificates to the For Your Freedom and Ours participants, and an honour to meet the Deputy Consul for the Republic of Poland.
“This project has really got people in the Borough talking about history, and raised cultural awareness.
“It has been so successful amongst our younger people that Larne Secondary School plans to incorporate the learning as part of its History GCSE curriculum later this year.”