Ardoyne Alliance Play Date at ‘Pitch & Mitch’ Park
Published: Tue, 17 Jun 2014
As part of our Shared Communities Programme, around 40 pre-school aged children from North Belfast had a ‘play date’ on Thursday, 12 June.
We provided funding for this event which was held at Belfast City Council’s Pitch and Mitch Park at Cranbrook Court. The play date was organised by the Ardoyne Alliance, consisting of the Grace Women’s Development, the Wishing Well Group, and North Belfast Women’s Initiative and Support Project (NBWISP). It brought together young children from different communities in a highly segregated area of North Belfast.
Grace Women’s Development spokesperson, Sally Smith, said,
“The Ardoyne Alliance group first came together on a cross community basis as part of the Housing Executive’s Local Area Network programme. This event for the parents and young children of our communities helps build on the foundations already set through previous events, and is able to continue through the Housing Executive’s Shared Communities Programme.”
Jennifer Hawthorne, Head of the Housing Executive’s Income Collection and Neighbourhoods Unit, agreed, saying,
“The Shared Communities Programme is all about bringing people together regardless of religion or ethnicity, in a neighbourhood that is safe and welcoming to all and threatening to no-one. This play date is an excellent vehicle to demonstrate how the people of North Belfast can engage in dialogue towards mutual understanding, as well as building relationships at an early age.”
Tracey Hutchinson from the Wishing Well group was also pleased about the event. She said: “These types of gatherings are great for the local kids and young parents in our areas. It allows us to better understand how everyone can get along.”
Alex Crossley from North Belfast WISP, said: “It is important that we continue to build on the relationships that have formed in recent years. Our children will ultimately benefit from a stronger and more peaceful community.”