Good Relations Week

Good Relations Week 2021 takes place from will run from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September 2021.

This year we have re-introduced physical events, alongside an expanded virtual offering.

The theme is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ as we shine a light on the peace building and cultural diversity efforts of young people and the challenges they are facing.

Our programme of inspiring community relations events will celebrate the work of people and communities in creating and sustaining good relations.

Huge thanks to all local groups and organisations who’ve helped us put together a dynamic programme of highly impactful events for you to enjoy

Whatever you do, don’t miss it!

Good Relations Week 2021 will celebrate the peace building and cultural diversity efforts of young people and the challenges they face with a creative programme of over 200 cross-community and multicultural events. Co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council, Good Relations Week 2021 will run from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September with a highly impactful programme of over 200 face-to-face events, virtual events and online content. For more information on the Good Relations Week 2021 programme of events visit www.goodrelationsweek.com.
Pictured with Peter Day from the Community Relations Council (front, left) and Clare Kearney (front, right) and Conor Valente (front, centre) from the Belfast Skate Collective, a local group that is providing a voice for the skating community, is local skaters Nicole Smallwood; Adam Patton, Caleb Court, James Ferris, Taylor Allen, Reuben Hughes, James Hannigan, Jake Murray and Matt McCopippin.

It s a Walk in the Park

A new ‘Civic Dollars’ mobile phone app, developed with support from Belfast City Council and the Department of Justice means that people can now earn rewards for the time they spend in their local parks and open spaces.

The Connswater Community Greenway will be the first area to go live in the free pilot scheme, followed by other parks across the city. Funded through the ‘Amazing Spaces, Smart Places’ project, the scheme is part of the council’s Smart Belfast programme, which is exploring how data and innovative technologies can create smart solutions for urban challenges and help to improve city services.

Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “Exercising outside and connecting with nature really can help our mental wellbeing. So it’s fantastic that, thanks to this pilot scheme, people can now earn Civic Dollars for the time they spend in our parks and open spaces.  They can enjoy rewards including Translink DayLink passes and tickets to visitor attractions or support their local community group by donating Civic Dollars to them.

“The Civic Dollars app also provides a promotional platform for local businesses, services and events - and the insights we’ll gather will help us to better understand how people use green spaces, improve park management, reduce vandalism, littering and anti-social behaviour and enhance the visitor experience.”

A number of Belfast-based community groups can benefit from donated Civic Dollars, exchanging them for various services such as business training, professional advice and activity centre sessions.

The ‘Amazing Spaces, Smart Places’ project is jointly funded by Belfast City Council and the Department of Justice via the Department for the Economy’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which enables the public sector to tap into new ideas and technologies created by innovative local businesses. It also gives innovators a great opportunity to trial and test their prototype in a supportive real-world environment as part of their product development.

Justice Minister, Naomi Long said: “Effectively managing public open spaces is a key element in developing a safe community, where we respect the law and each other.

“The Civic Dollars pilot scheme holds the potential to deliver real benefits to local communities by using technology to improve the safe use of our parks and open spaces; something that is so important for both physical and mental health. Congratulations to all involved in this innovative pilot scheme and I look forward to hearing how it has progressed as more people use it in the coming weeks and months.”

Stephen McPeake, CEO of local company Moai Digital Ltd and creator of the Civic Dollars app, added:“It’s been fantastic to have this opportunity to apply a tech based solution to Belfast City Council’s challenge of better managing their parks and open spaces.  And it’s wonderful to know that local people, businesses and community groups will all benefit as a result when people download and use the Civic Dollars app.  Life these days is about so much more than just money – it’s about improving our communities, and our own health and wellbeing – Civic Dollars provides the perfect solution with a new social currency. It’s a win win all round!”

The CivicDollars app can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play Store.  The pilot will run until the end of Summer 2021.

For more information about the project, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/amazingspaces

You can now earn rewards every time you visit Waterworks, Falls and Ormeau Parks by downloading the CivicDollars app.
They're the latest green spaces to join our Smart Belfast project, co-funded with the Department of Justice through the Department for the Economy’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).
Sign up to get one 'dollar' for every 30 minutes spent in the popular spaces - running, walking, cycling or just meeting up with mates!
Then swap your rewards for Translink day passes, tickets to visitor attractions and more, or earn extra dollars by reporting issues like littering or vandalism.
The scheme is already up and running along Connswater Community Greenway where it's proven a big hit, with lots of users also donating their dollars to local community groups who can, in turn, use them for free training and other services.
Download the free Civic Dollars app now from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Sister Cities Helping One Another

One of the real good news stories which came out of the pandemic was the mutual support between Chinese communities here in Northern Ireland and in China. An act of generosity by the local Chinese community as they felt it their duty to help Belfast's sister city resulted in much needed support for the NHS locally.

Members of Belfast's Chinese community raised over £15,000 to send vital protective clothing to China as new cases of coronavirus continue to soar.

China is struggling to deal with severe shortages of equipment such as protective suits, goggles and masks, which are now being sent to Belfast's sister city of Shenyang.

Around 1,200 protective suits have been despatched to the Red Cross for distribution to health workers fighting on the front line against the spread of coronavirus.

Min Shen (43) from the Chinese Welfare Association in Belfast, who has lived here for 20 years, said the city's Chinese community, which numbers some 7,000 people, wanted to help those back home.

"We had the request from authorities in Shenyang and felt it was our duty and responsibility to do what we can in a practical way... With the help of Belfast City Council to source the vital equipment from their suppliers, that is now happening. We set up a WeChat group to get the message out about fundraising and had donation boxes in various Chinese supermarkets and at our base at Stranmillis Embankment. We were delighted to have raised such a huge amount in such a short period of time,"

This act of kindness and forethought was responded to in April when Belfast received a donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) from its sister city Shenyang in China.

The shipment included 10,000 disposable medical face masks and 500 sets of disposable protective clothing - arrived in Duncrue industrial estate at a time when it was urgently needed and went straight for distribution among health workers fighting on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis.

The shipment of PPE was in response to kit donated to Shenyang at the very beginning of the pandemic by the Chinese Welfare Association, based at Stranmillis Embankment, Belfast.

The association also recently donated £17,000 to the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

Belfast Lord Mayor Daniel Baker said:

"I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to our good friend and colleague, Chinese Consul Madame Zhang, to Jiang Youwei, Mayor of Shenyang, and to all those in our sister city Shenyang, for their ongoing solidarity and support during this challenging time.

It's absolutely vital that our city's key workers are protected against this virus as they carry out their essential duties, and today's much needed supply of PPE will do a great deal to help ensure their safety.

One uplifting outcome of this incredibly challenging time is the ongoing readiness of people to reach out and help one another. It's hugely encouraging to know that this friendship, kindness and co-operation stretches right across the globe - as demonstrated by today's donation.

We look forward to further developing our sister city connections with Shenyang post-Covid-19 to develop new areas of co-operation in trade, tourism and education to help rebuild our economies."

This vital shipment arrived at a time when the entire United Kingdom was facing real challenges in terms of PPE supplies. Sourcing reliable supplies of PPE has been a constant battle during the outbreak. The NHS was getting through tens of millions of masks a week, and UK procurement officials were warning that stock were dangerously low.


Virtual Chinese New Year

Behind the Scenes the CWA Team has been hard at work to ensure the Chinese New Year festivities can go ahead. This year as we do things differently the aim will be to take all the best bits of the traditional celebrations and bring them online. From a state of the art audio visual presentation which will be hosted on zoom to the launch of a new look CWA website during the festival we will connect Chinese communities across not just Northern Ireland but across the globe.

Our motto for this year is Keep Strong with the strength of the Ox in mind we will be using new technology to build the strength and resilience of not just the organisation, but the entire community. So join us and help us as we take our community online, and bring our culture to everyone. If you have an interest in all things online we would love to hear from you to become a digital volunteer. From our teenage gamers to our silver surfers we have a role for you in the exciting new online platforms we are developing.

We aim to make it fun and free to get involved with all the support and training you need. So Join the CWA Digital Team today.

https://youtu.be/PNBuGomQezE

 


Chinese Community Thanks The NHS

In an amazing piece of fundraising Chinese Communities in Northern Ireland were able to present almost £17,000 as a Thank You to the NHS. The donation which went entirely and directly to the NHS will see them receive support and much needed PPE at this time.

The range of organisations and individuals who rallied to the call from CWA to support our front line health care workers was amazing and a special thanks goes to those members of staff and volunteers who organised and made it possible. The generosity and community spirit of all who gave must be recognised and will go a long way to helping those who are risking so much to look after us all.

In order to add our support to the wonderful NHS, the Chinese Communities of Northern Ireland (including Chinese Chamber of Commerce NI, Chinese Language School NI, Oi Kwan Woman’s Group and a lot of caring people from all walks of life) were able to raise over £16,940.

This kind donation will directly support BHSCT staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients and it is a BIG thank-you for their hard work during this difficult time.

We also would like to pay tribute to the doctors and nurses who work on the front line and hope they remain safe and healthy.

       为了更好地支持NHS抵抗新冠肺炎疫情,近期北爱尔兰华人社区(包括北爱尔兰华商会、中文学校、爱群妇女会以及其他各界爱心人士)进行募捐,目前筹款金额超过£16,940

        这笔捐款的支票已经寄给BHSCT, 并将直接用于支持BHSCT的工作人员和志愿者照料COVID-19患者,在此困难时期,非常感谢他们的辛勤付出。

        同时,我们还要向在一线工作的医生和护士表示敬意,并希望他们保持安全和健康。

 

See the thank you video from the Lord Mayor of Belfast in the following link.   贝尔法斯特市长通过视频对此次筹款表示感谢,视频链接如下。   

                Thank you from the Lord Mayor of Belfast.mp4