AN innovative diversity project exploring is currently taking place between three primary schools in Cookstown.
‘Connecting Communities’, a Speedwell Trust facilitated project, involves 65 children from Holy Trinity, Cookstown and Phoenix Integrated primary schools. Each are participating in a series of programmes on a joint basis in the SEUPB Peace III funded initiative, which is administered through the South West Council Cluster based in Magherafelt.
The project will give children the opportunity to explore diversity in their local community with input from key local agencies including the district councils, the PSNI and local churches.
Eamon McClean, the Speedwell Trust Manager said that the aim of the project is to: “...help children to celebrate difference and build cross community links between children, parents and teachers that live and work in the same locality but rarely meet because of the segregated nature of society in Northern Ireland.”
As part of the project the PSNI will visit one of the schools.
Constable Marty Allen from Cookstown PSNI explained: “We are very excited to be involved with the Speedwell Trust Connecting Communities project. This is a great opportunity, not only for children from different schools to come together, but also to allow them to find out some of the things that the police do in their community.”
Chair of Cookstown District Council, Councillor Tony Quinn added: “I was delighted to be invited to Holy trinity Primary school today to witness the unique ‘Connecting Communities’ programme run by Speedwell in partnership with Holy Trinity Primary, Cookstown Primary and the Phoenix Integrated schools. Peace 3 funding has facilitated this vital area of learning.”
“This is a valuable initiative to our district. Bringing our children together to celebrate difference and cross community engagement. I wish to congratulate Speedwell on their vision and determination in carrying out this work,” he said.
On behalf of Cookstown District Council I also wish to thank the principals, staff and students at each of the primary schools for participating in the connecting communities project.”
South West Peace III Manager Chris McCarney shared the initiative sets out to specifically work with the next generation on achieving a shared society
“The PEACE III Programme has a renewed emphasis on reconciliation criteria and will specifically focus on reconciling communities and contributing towards a shared society,” he said.
“We are delighted that the Connecting Communities project directly focuses on working with the next generation of children to achieve this aim.” The project will culminate in a celebration event scheduled to be held in Cookstown in June 2013.