Fortwilliam & Macrory

Presbyterian Church

Tigers Bay & New Lodge Youth Decide (Together!)

During February and March, a small group of 13-16 year-olds from Tigers Bay and the New Lodge were recruited from their respective Monday Night Clubs, to participate in a cross-community project exploring diversity.

The project enabled the youth to decide for themselves what particular diversity themes they wanted to focus on. Meeting as single-identity groups initially, both groups selected “Sectarianism at the Duncairn Interface” as their most desired diversity theme to explore further. The young people chose to explore this theme by inviting each other into their neighbourhood, and showing them around. The “Police” was also ranked highly as a desired diversity theme, and the groups explored this by participating in a Q&A session with two local Neighbourhood officers. The officers then assisted with transportation for the neighbourhood tours, as well as bringing the group into the CCTV monitoring room at Antrim Road Police Station.

The group also had an opportunity to go on a residential to Londonderry, where they were introduced to the interfaces there, and how they compared to their local situation. They received a guided tour of the Bogside Murals and the Loyalist Fountain Estate. Group-work sessions on the residential explored perceptions around national identity, racism, and sectarianism.

The project was made possible through the desire of the young people themselves to get to know their peers from the other side of the wall. I think all would say they have benefitted from taking this step, and for them it’s just the beginning of a better future.