Pupils from Alexander Dickson Primary School and members of Ballygowan Seniors Group have been working together for the past eight weeks to create a mural that portrays various places in Ballygowan reflecting all of the different people who live together in the village, each with distinct perspectives and experiences.
The initiative is one part of an innovative inclusion programme – ‘Building Positive Relations’ – which aims to build positive connections between different groups within communities and promote cultural diversity and cross-community working through exploring the past and creating shared spaces and experiences.
Ards Councillor Robert Gibson welcomed the project commenting on the lasting friendships which have developed between the two age groups: “This is an important project as it is vital that different groups, including children and older people, living in our community understand each other better in order to promote peaceful living. This ethos is very much in keeping with the PEACE III vision of building positive relations within local communities.”
Deputy Mayor of North Down, Marion Smith added: “It has been fantastic to hear of the benefits the children and adults have gained through working together and the friendships that have developed between them.To be able to see the finished artwork which was produced over a period of eight weeks is great, and I think we all agree the end result is amazing and a credit to you all.”
The project has been funded by the European Union’s (EU) PEACE lll Programme, and is managed by Special EU Programmes Body and delivered by North Down, Ards and Down Council Cluster and promotes inclusion using a range of community animation programmes including visits, events, festivals, training and workshops, like the one that took place in Ballygowan.
Betty Hamilton was one of the senior citizens who took part in the intergenerational group and said: “We all have a lot to learn from one another, and I for one, found the young people’s enthusiasm and energy refreshing, I learned a lot from talking to different members of the group that will help me to better understand how young people view things and encourage better relationships to help us to live well together, making the community a good place to be.”