Diverse voices join together in Dungannon
A celebration of cultures brought together singers and dancers at Ranfurley House and the Hill of O’Neill, Dungannon to mark Good Relations Week during September. Northern Lights was organised by Apex Housing Association in partnership with Radius Housing, and was opened by none other than Ian McElhinney, star of Derry Girls and Game of Thrones.
Ian introduced the audience to the raft of talented artists, which included Irish dancers, a Highland Piper, traditional Irish singers and musicians and a showband. Also among the performers were Lambeg Boogie, who fuse Irish, Ulster Scots and bluegrass music, with a Lambeg drum and an electric guitar. School children from St Patrick’s College and Drumglass High School came together as a joint choir, with pupils representing 14 nationalities, which is a mark of the diversity of the Dungannon area.
Northern Lights was one of a number of events Apex and Radius Housing organised during Good Relations Week, all of which aimed to highlight the diversity in our local communities and celebrate the wide range of cultures we have among us. Among the Shared Housing developments managed Apex is the Sycamore Drive development in Dungannon, while Radius Housing manages Earls Court in Dungannon, and this event was part of the community relations development plan for the area.
The project was supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s ‘Housing for All’ Shared Housing Programme. The Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society. £7m has been invested in the Dungannon shared housing developments and associated five-year good relations plans.
Teresa McCloskey from Apex Housing Association said:
Dungannon continues to lead the way in recognising the multi-cultural background of its residents, and the success of this event was a shining example of that. It was fantastic to see music, dance and performances from different cultures and traditions all under the one roof. The audience was made up of Dungannon residents and people from other countries who have made Dungannon their home, and it was great to see the evening being enjoyed by all. We look forward to continuing our good relations work in the Dungannon area.
Both Apex and Radius have shared housing developments across Northern Ireland. Good relations plans include ‘bridging’ events which are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes which include health and wellbeing, education and training.