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Independent voice for community/voluntary sector Website: viewdigital.org

Issue eight, 2012

VIEW Something Special happening See story on pages 4-5


VIEW

VIEW, issue eight, 2012

Charity leap

Website: viewdigital.org

CONTENTS

Page 2

Culture Night

Pages 6-7 Journalist Frances A Burscough, right, writes about her skydive jump for Meningitis Research

Pages 16-17 Joseph Pelan reports on the recent Culture Night in Belfast which attracted thousands of people

Poverty appeal

Racism fight

Pages 8, 9, 10 In the midst of the recession, the charity, Save The Children, recently launch their first ever UK-wide poverty appeal

Page 18 Robin Wilson looks at the issue of racism in Northern Ireland and why more needs to be done to tackle it

Foyle patrol

Co-op hub

Pages 14-15 VIEW goes on patrol at night-time with the courageous men and women volunteers of Foyle Search and Rescue

Page 22 Una Murphy reports on the efforts of the Co-operative Enterprise Hub in Northern Ireland to expand its operations

Editorial

VIEW, the online publication for the community/voluntary sector in Northern Ireland.

By Brian Pelan, editor

I

attended a recent press briefing at the impressive offices of the Department of Social Development in Belfast. We were present to hear an outline of the main changes to welfare benefits and the time-table for the Welfare Reform Bill, currently going through stages at the Assembly. It is due to become law in Northern Ireland in March 2013. Tommy O’Reilly, chief executive, of the Social Security Agency, outlined to the assembled journalists, the key parts of the legislative changes. He described the Bill “as the biggest shake-up in welfare legislation in 40 years”. Just as the press briefing was about to end, one of the journalists informed Mr O’Reilly of an email he had just received which said that Sinn Fein were looking for a delay in the legislation.

Whether that happens or not, it seems quite clear that the legislation, perhaps with a few tweaks, will go through. VIEW believes that what we are witnessing is an unprecedented attack on the living standards of people who are forced to rely on a variety of benefits for different reasons. They will all be affected once this bill comes into law. A variety of charities and other community and voluntary bodies have consistently argued that they are ill-equipped to take up the slack of coping with people who are already struggling to make ends meet. The proposed Bill will affect housing benefit, employment and support allowance, child maintenance, lone parent’s allowance, disability living

allowance and much else. The changes would also mean that people living in houses larger than they are deemed to need would see their housing benefit slashed and would have to choose between moving home, or making up the difference from their own resources. As argued previously in VIEW, a coalition of all those opposed to the Welfare Reform Bill has to be built. The planned trade union march on October 20 in Belfast, as part of a UK-wide organised campaign, provides a focus for such a movement. The question, as ever, is what sort of society do we want; a place where we care for the unemployed and the ill, or a society without an effective social security net? VIEW will continue to lobby for effective protection for the marginalised.

VIEW TO GET SMART WITH NEW MOBILE PHONE APP. ON THE WAY SOON TO A MOBILE/IPAD NEAR YOU ...


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

Profile

Page 3

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We talk to NI Campaigns Manager Harry Reid of the Royal National Institute of the Blind about his work and the challenges facing the organisation

1, How long have you been in your present position.

6, What do you like most about your job? What do you like least?

I’ve been in my present position for just over a year. I’ve worked in the community and voluntary sector for about 25 years.

I enjoy being able to work both with members of our constituency and people who can actually make decisions that will improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people. What I least like is the increasing bureaucratization of everything. I’m all for transparency, but there is a creeping bureaucratisation of work, life, everything.

2, How effective have the campaigns been? Our constituency is arguably one of the most disenfranchised groupings of people. Consequently, you are looking at many reasons why we find ourselves in these circumstances. We are in a chipping away situation. Our campaigns are gaining in success because we are being listened to, but in terms of have we achieved what we set out to do? The answer is no. 3, Are politicians paying attention to your Hardest Hit campaign? The Hardest Hit campaign involves ourselves and a range of other organisations. They have paid attention in the sense that we have articulated key messages to them. I feel that they are reluctant to take decisions, and, in my opinion, are hiding beneath a smokescreen of saying that they don’t have the budget. We believe that there are many constructive things they could do, even taking into account their budgetary constraints. 4, Have conditions in Northern Ireland improved for blind and partially sighted people? There has been a little more understanding about the needs of blind and partially sighted people. But it’s also the case, that MLAs, having listened to us, is whether or not they take action for our constituency. 5, How have the present tough economic conditions affected the RNIB? It’s now harder to raise money from the public and government is trying to rationalise its funding. In a very straitened set of economic circumstances, groups, such as our constituency, are often viewed as passengers in employment terms. And thus, it becomes even harder for them to secure employment.

7, Is our transport system user friendly? The short answer is no. One measure that would improve things would be audio announcements on buses. We have it on trains, and buses should follow suit. London and Edinburgh have this system and we have a campaign which argues that Translink should introduce this technology. 8, Are blind and partially sighted people still discriminated against in terms of employment opportunities? Enormously. Hence, the 66 per cent unemployment rate amongst our constituency. They are disadvantaged even before they get into the employment field, because they do not necessarily gain the same experiences as others. Also attitudes based on assumptions about what blind or partially sighted people can or cannot do often harm employment opportunities. But with the right technology, blind or partially sighted people can do anything. 9, Who or what has inspired you the most in your career to date. People like Labour Party politician Aneurin Bevan who articulated the needs of working class people and the disadvantaged and who managed to achieve things like the setting up of the National Health Service. 10, What is your favourite novel and movie? Catcher in the Rye by JD Sallinger and The Blues Brothers. 11, If you could have dinner with five famous people from history, who would they be? Che Guevara, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Joan of Arc. 12, If you could be or do anything else – what would it be? I would be a children’s writer on a narrow boat floating around the rivers of Europe.


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VIEW, issue eight, 2012

Page 4

‘I put the dishes down an

Denise White tells Brian Pelan her remarkable story about se

Thumbs up: Staff and students at the Something Special project in Eglinton, Co Derry

I

Passionate: Denise White

have seldom experienced such a warm reception as the one I had recently at the Something Special project in Eglinton, Co Derry. The centre provide a creative space for adults with learning disabilities to work and showcase their arts talent. Robert, one of the students, decided that he would be my unofficial guide. He then introduced me to each student and give me a huge hug when the interview was over. Founder Denise White, who set up the charity in 2007, said: “I trained as a primary school teacher focusing on special needs. “I graduated and got a job straight away working in a mainstream school teaching music and special needs groups. I then got a position in the North West Regional College where I taught special needs and early years classes. “At that stage I was getting very frustrated with the lack of provisions for young people with learning difficulties so I decided to go out on my own and set up a place which would offer opportunities to them. “I resigned from my full time teaching position and have worked hard at creating the

Something Special project. We originally started off with 16 students. We now have more than 80 students and a huge waiting list. “I suppose the reason that I am so passionate about special needs is because I had an uncle, who had Down’s syndrome. “He passed away a few years back. The impact of music on his life and the skills he developed through it was fantastic. I wanted to set something up that would help people like him. “His name was Desmond Devine. He was an absolutely brilliant character. “I used to play the piano with him every Friday whenever he visited, and also took him to dances. “You just saw a completely different side to him. His confidence, self-esteem, language and communication skills all improved. “My husband Greg has been a fantastic support. We were standing in our kitchen one day. It was after I’d had my second child and I was due to return back to working in the college. “I said to him, ‘Greg, you know what? I just feel sick at the thought of going back, because I’m fighting constantly to make better provision for


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

Page 5

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nd said I’m going to do it’

etting up a charity to help people with learning disabilities

Images: Kevin Cooper Photoline these brilliant people’. He said: ‘Well why don’t you go and just start a project yourself? You’ve always talked about opening your own academy.’ I put the dishes down and said ‘I’m going to do it.’ I started off by going on the internet to find out how to set a charity. “It was the best decision in my life.” Art and design teacher Una Maude, who works at the project, added: “I worked for three years previously promoting art, dance and drama in a peace and reconciliation project. I then saw an advertisement for a position at this project. I really enjoy working here. At the moment we are working on a Halloween theme. I'm looking forward to going to the National Lottery finals in London. It's so rewarding to see our students taking part in this. My sister Ciara has special needs and she now goes to this centre. She has built her confidence and social skills since coming here. There should be more statutory funding for people with special needs.” The Something Special project has reached the final of the National Lottery Awards in the Best Arts Project category. The National Lottery Awards are the annual

search to find the UK’s favourite projects. They recognise the life-changing difference that National Lottery funding makes to communities across the UK. The winner in each category, decided by public vote, will be celebrated at a special star-studded BBC One Show later in the year. David Meenan, aged 34, has been with the project since the beginning and his life has been totally transformed. The project has encouraged David to develop his talent for composing music, which he thoroughly enjoys and as a result his selfesteem has gone from strength to strength. David said: “I've been coming here for about four years. This centre means everything to me as it gets me out of house and gives me a chance to meet new people.” The centre is competing against two other Lottery-funded projects to amass the highest number of votes to win a trophy for Best Arts Project and a £2,000 prize. The public are able to vote for their favourite projects in these categories until Sunday, October 28 at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards

Rewarding: Una Maude


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

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Page 6

Top Gun Frances show Journalist Frances A Burscough recently jumped out of a plane, flying at 15,000 ft, to raise funds for Meningitis Research. She tells VIEW of her ‘awesome’ leap into the abyss below

Y

es readers, I’m still alive. It seems the rumours of my imminent death were an exaggeration after all. After weeks of preparation and trepidation I finally did the unthinkable; I jumped out of a moving aircraft at 15,000 feet and lived to tell the tale. So how did I do it? What possessed a woman – who is so afraid of flying that she has to be sedated with Valium on long-haul flights and for whom even climbing six-foot step ladders is a white-knuckle ordeal – to contemplate such a dastardly act of derring-do? And how on earth did I avoid a kamikaze catastrophe? Let's backtrack a few weeks. When Brian Pelan, the editor of this publication, suggested I write an occasional column about volunteering I was so delighted and flattered to be asked I said “yes” straight away. Even when he tasked me to do a skydive to raise money for Meningitis Research I agreed. I knew it would be scary but it would make such a damn good story that as an eager and enthusiastic journalist I just couldn’t possibly say no, despite my personal misgivings – far too many to even mention. So, whilst Brian sorted out all the logistics – setting up a fund-raising page on JustGiving.com, liaising with the charity, contacting the organisers and the Moonjumper centre to book the course, etc – I went about the task of publicising my project and raising the money to do it. The one thing I didn’t do was think too much about the actual event. Denial: It works wonders for me. In times of fear/worry/anxiety, when life is hard and times are tough, that is how I cope. I compartmentalise the fear in a drawer of denial which rarely gets opened or sees the light of day. Here was a fine example. Instead of getting myself traumatised in advance, I made a simple decision to not think about it. I’ll deal with the fear nearer the time. So, two months of campaigning and hundreds of quids worth of donations later, as I arrived at Wild Geese HQ in Coleraine at 8.00am on Saturday, October 6, I was still happily cosseted in my snug and secure state of denial. Heck, we still had about an hour to go before we left ground zero. Wee buns. We’ll have a nice coffee and a chat and I’ll deal with the fear nearer the time. And as we did the pre-flight training and as I climbed into my flying suit while the light aircraft revved its engine noisily beside me, I still thought that I would deal with the fear nearer the time. As the tandem diver strapped me tightly to his chest and we clambered on board the plane, I laughed and joked with him about my funeral arrangements as the aircraft trundled along the runway. Yes, I was still faithfully telling myself I’ll deal with it nearer the time. Then within minutes, Coleraine and the Antrim coast were spiralling far into the distance below; we were clattering high above the clouds, then the next instant I was peering down at a patchwork of centimetre-squared fields thousands of feet directly below as we leapt out into the abyss. Plummeting in a 120mph free-fall through freezing clouds is a pretty devastating and definitive wake-up call. Now, finally, I was dealing with it. And my GOD it was awesome.


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

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Page 7

ws true grit in skydive

Left: Frances gives the thumbs up before her amazing skydive for the Meningitis Research Foundation and right, she proudly holds onto her certificate beside instructor Francis who accompanied her on the leap at the Wild Geese centre in Co Derry


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

Page 8

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Children’s view of pove

Award-winning photographer Spencer Murphy teamed up with the charity S when they talk about poverty. He visited the Poplar Boys and Girls Youth Cl

Jaden, 9: “Not having toys, no shoes.”

Amira, 8: “Lights, toaster, kettle, oven, fridge, Jack, 12: “No education school, no money for microwave, TV; these are the things I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have electricity. I feel lucky that we have enough money to pay for electricity because we can enjoy stuff more than when we don’t.”

Sydnee, 12: “The way I realise that someone Zakariah, 9: “A family, a pet and food. I may not have as much money as others is would be sad if I didn't have these.” by the toys that they have or they might not even have toys. Also by the clothes they wear, or if their shoes or coat etc may not fit them and it may be a bit dirty and ratty. If their hair was dirty or knotty they may not have money to buy cleaning supplies for the body and for the house, or a hairbrush.”

Adam, 13: “I feel speci that their are many ch afford to get the basic food, clothes and edu

Fergus Cooper, the head of Save of worsening economic conditio


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

Page 9

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erty: in their own words

Save the Children to investigate what kids in one London borough think of ub in Tower Hamlets. The pictures are his, the words their own

n, no money for bus.”

Liam, 11: “Can’t buy clothes, can’t buy food, can’t buy footwear, can’t buy house, can’t buy motors, can’t buy cleaning stuff like bleach, toothpaste, toothbrush.”

ial due to the fact hildren who can’t c things to live, like cation.”

Billy, 13: “Not going to school.”

Shaya, 16: “I think it’s not fair for the children who don’t have the things they need because there are a lot of children who have more than what they need but some people don’t have some of the most important stuff.”

Claire, 16: “Not being able to have anything.”

e the Children in Northern Ireland, tells on page 10, why the charity, against a backdrop ons, recently launched its first ever child poverty appeal in the United Kingdom


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

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Page 10

‘Children living in poverty have poorer health and as adults they will die up to 15 years younger’

Grim times: Save the Children recently launched its first UK child poverty appeal

I

n 1919 sisters Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton, outraged at the starvation of 30,000 children in the defeated nations of Germany and Austria, called a public meeting in the Royal Albert Hall. Save the Children was the result, and has fundraised and campaigned ever since for the rights of children here and globally. Save the Children recently launched its first-ever UK child poverty appeal, with the release of its report, It Shouldn’t Happen Here. The results of a nationwide survey, the report highlights the sacrifices families are making for their children in the face of a reduction in real incomes due to austerity measures and recession. Families struggling to manage on the lowest incomes are being hit hardest. One third of these parents say that every week they are short of money. 31% state “they have nothing left to cut back on”. Again, 3 in every 10 low income parents report they have skipped meals so that their children do not go without. To make ends meet, 61% have cut back on food shopping and 40% have bought less fruit and vegetables. Despite the best efforts of parents to hide their financial plight from their children, the survey reveals that many children are only too aware of their circumstances and the extra stress on the family. Our poorest children say they do without

basics such as new shoes, healthy meals and a warm winter coat because their parents can’t afford them. These children miss out on usual childhood activities such as having a friend round for tea or birthday parties. Here and across the UK, children living in poverty have poorer health, will underachieve in education and are more likely to end up in low income jobs themselves. As adults they will die up to 15 years younger, but will also experience chronic health problems much earlier. The Institute of Fiscal Studies has forecast that child poverty will rise by up to 400,000 in the UK by 2015. Save the Children is responding to that need with a range of programmes designed to intervene early to give children a head start in their development and education. Angela McGowan, chief economist with the Danske Bank in Belfast, has expressed concern that even when recession does end within the UK, Northern Ireland may experience a “jobless” recovery. Recovery in itself will not end child poverty or move people out of low paid jobs into higher skilled and better paid employment. Save the Children Head of Country for NI Fergus Cooper believes that “that will require

strategic and targeted action by government to improve skills and to make jobs accessible to key elements of the labour market. We need to remove barriers to employment such as the lack of adequate and affordable childcare”. “Child poverty matters, now and for our future. With 1 in 2 children growing up in poverty in NI living in households where at least one adult is working, our local economy needs to attract the right type of employment and jobs that pay a living wage.” This campaign has added significance as Save the Children in Northern Ireland celebrates 60 years since the establishment of its first branch in Belfast, inspired by Molly Popper. “Molly’s guiding principles were to raise money to benefit of children’s welfare and education globally, but also to meet children’s needs at home. These principles matter more than ever in today’s tough times,” said Fergus. Individuals can make a difference. To learn more about Child Poverty, It Shouldn’t Happen Here, visit www.savethechildren.org.uk and join the movement for change. • Fergus Cooper (55) is Head of Country (NI) with Save the Children. He has a BSSc(Econ) from QUB and a PGC Marketing from UUJ. He is also Chair of the Child Poverty Alliance


Practical advice and a sensitive personal approach. We pride ourselves on our unrivalled commitment to clients’ needs.

Edwards & Co. solicitors advises charities and the voluntary sector in Northern Ireland on a wide range of legal issues including charity creation, charitable status and constitutional matters, trading and commercial arrangements, employment law, finance, fundraising and property law, as well as dealing with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. Our team offers a full range of legal services including mediation, criminal law, clinical negligence and personal injury claims, as well as family/matrimonial work.

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VIEW, issue eight, 2012

Page 12

Finding the right fit for a social franchise Community and voluntary organisations investigating social franchising should consider whether a franchise fits with an organisation’s ethics, according to Seamus O’Prey, CEO, ORTUS business development agency. Mr O’Prey there was 60 social franchises operating in Europe including a hotel chain, Le Mat and Revisie which refurbishes white goods. He said that community and voluntary organisations looking for in a social franchise should weigh up: whether it operates in a local growth area, is a well-developed model, there is a capacity for the social franchisor, tangible benefits at the right price, adds credibility, offers successful profitable franchisees, internal quality systems for monitoring franchisees and growth benefits all Further details on social franchising can be found at http://www.socialfranchisingni.com or http://www.socialfranchising.coop/

Gala ball: Diane McConnell with Paula Strain, Malachi Cush and Oisin Gribben at an event promoting the Meningitis Research Foundation’s ‘Ray of Hope’ Gala Ball, which will take place on Saturday, March 23, next year at The Culloden Estate and Spa

PHoToLinE

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VIEW, issue eight, 2012

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Page 13

A Tapestry of Colours on way soon Public screenings of 'Tapestry of Colours' - a new documentary feature film about the fusion of people of different cultures now living in Northern Ireland, by Zhenia Mahdi-Nau - are being planned following a successful preview at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. The film which looks at perceptions and attitudes about identity and culture has inter-

views with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures and is set against colourful and unusual festivals with a strong emphasis on music. The music on the film was provided by Conor Scullion, Banco De Gaia, Different Drums of Ireland, Ursula Burns, Drumderg Flute Band, Glenn Marshall and Zhenia Mahdi-Nau A trailer for ‘Tapestry of Colours’ – funded

SUPPORTINGOUR MEMBERS  DEFENDINGJOBS ANDSERVICES  TOJOINUNISONTEL.08453550845 ORJOINONLINE https://join.unison.org.uk/joinus.php



by Northern Ireland Community Relations Council Media Fund Scheme – can be seen by following this weblink: https://vimeo.com/47265354. And VIEW’s video report on the film review at the Lyric Theatre is at http://www.viewdigital.org/2012/10/08/tapestryof-colours/

Community & Voluntary Branch


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

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Page 14

VIEW goes on patrol with

Is it not time that this amazing voluntary service rece

Keeping a watch on the city: Members of the Foyle Search and Rescue charity prepare for another night patrolling the River Foyle in D

T

he plain facts speak for themselves. Since 1993, when Foyle Search and Rescue, was set up, the unpaid bunch of volunteers have stopped more than 2,000 people from possibly taking their own lives, they have rescued nearly 300 people from the River Foyle and have recovered 115 bodies. But they largely depend on donations and volunteers and receive little funding. Surely it’s time that the government got behind this remarkable service and committed long-term funding to ensure that its operations continue on a firm financial footing.

I recently spent an evening with members of the charity, including going out on boat patrol on the River Foyle. For three nights of the week, the volunteers maintain an active watch on the river. During the rest of the week they operate on a pager system where they can be called on if the police or members of the public see someone in the water or who is about to jump in. Terry Carr, who is a co-ordinator and member of the emergency response team, has been with the charity for six years. “There are eight of us in the emergency

response team who can be called out 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Everybody in the charity is unpaid apart from the office administrator Amy. All of our equipment has been raised through fundraising. The people of Derry recognise what we do and we our seen by many as the fourth emergency service.” Terry said: “We all have our own day-time jobs. When you join the charity, the only stipulation is that you give up least two nights a month. “The more you put into it the more you will get out of it. Because of the training aspect


VIEW, issue eight, 2012

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Foyle Search and Rescue

eived statutory funding, asks editor Brian Pelan

Derry

‘We are seen by many as the fourth emergency service in Derry’ and the costs involved, not everybody can patrol the river in a boat and intervene. “If somebody joins the charity, they are on probation for about 10 weeks.

Images: Kevin Cooper Photoline “We should be a statutory-funded organisation. If you look at the statistics alone. In the 20 years we have been going we have saved 2,600 people. We are a very unique organisation in that we have a prevention, intervention and postvention approach. “Prevention involves our teams going out on patrol. If we spot someone in trouble then it’s intervention. And postvention occurs when we help families and the bereaved by offering a counselling service.” My quiet night on the Foyle ended in drama when Terry received a call from one of the

volunteers who was patrolling the riverside that a suspicious object had been discovered by one of the team in the grounds of Derry City Council’s office grounds. The volunteers alerted members of the public and the police. The device later turned out to be a pipe bomb. Police said that a Foyle Search and Rescue volunteer who lifted the holdall and looked inside could have been killed. The quick reaction of the charity in helping to evacuate the area underlines once again why this charity has a strong case for statutory funding.


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A canvas of colours as Belfast serves up a Night of Culture Joseph Pelan reports on the evening when the citizens of Belfast celebrated a feast of art, music and dance

B

elfast was transformed in to a canvas of colours recently as it celebrated Culture Night. Art galleries and bars extended an open invitation to the citizens of south, east, west and north of the city as thousands responded by packing the streets to celebrate an 'Alternative Ulster'. Managed by Seedhead Arts founder, Adam Turkington, who oversaw the proceedings, Culture Night offered 220 events spread throughout the city to a captivated audience. In conjunction with Community Arts Partnership, free buses were also offered to local community groups as a way of connecting residents of local areas residing outside the centre. “It’s like six festivals condensed into one, what we’ve done is remarkably cheap,” said Mr Turkington. “I was really proud of North Street; it's a forgotten part of the city and Culture Night is great for business regeneration.” This co-ordinated art attack, included other cities throughout Ireland and across the water in Liverpool, London, Leeds and Newcastle, with even Leuven in Belgium also getting in on the act. The majority of events centred around Belfast's beat district; The Cathedral Quarter. A dilapidated North Street was converted into a spectrum of lights and sounds, with a show of visuals projected on to disused buildings. Entertainment entrepreneurs DSNT were found thinking very much inside the box with their cardboard-stacked hacienda pyramid situated within an abandoned lot in Donegall Street. It was an evening also for buskers as local street musicians took to the stage on Lombard Street to reimburse punters with a proverbial penny for any thoughts left in their head after a bone-crunching performance by Pro-Wrestling Ulster on Rosemary Street. Later, confronted with the bizarre spectacle of Street Countdown; each contestant standing over a wheelie bin, as a rather chic-looking presenter resurrected the spirit of Richard Knightley. I was presented with a conundrum of my own. Where was the police presence? In a society where ‘culture’ goes hand in hand with contention, the atmosphere was relatively relaxed. Finally, as my evening came to an end, so had my dwindling funds. Before sauntering in to the darkness of the night I stood with arms outstretched, reiterating the line once popularised by a young Marlon Brando, “Stellaaaaaa.”

A night in Belfast: Thousands of people flocked into the city recently to enjoy a ho


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ost of attractions on Culture Night

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Elaine Hill Photography


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VIEW, issue eight, 2012

Comment Independent researcher Robin Wilson looks at the problems encountered by Somalians living in Belfast

Why voluntary groups need to do more to tackle racism

H

e had never imagined, the speaker said, that the lower Donegall Road would remind him of Mogadishu. The Somali asylum-seeker was one of some 50 individuals from the region who attended a meeting on hate crime last February in Equality House in Belfast, organised by Horn of Africa People’s Aid Northern Ireland (HAPANI). It was a sobering occasion. Those taking part stressed their desire to become integral members of society in Northern Ireland—particularly given the crises in Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan/South Sudan, nearly all those from the region are refugees rather than migrants. They were also very reluctant to blame the whole indigenous population for the actions of individuals who had abused them. But, one after another, they told harrowing stories of how they had been victimised, including physical attacks as well as name-calling and hostile graffiti or letters. In the presence of a (sympathetic) officer from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, they complained of inadequate police responses if incidents were reported. They explained how, if forced to leave their own homes for safety, they suffered loss of friends, dislocation of schooling arrangements and so on. Independent survey research and focus groups, conducted for HAPANI by the Institute for Conflict Research (ICR), confirmed the widespread nature of racist abuse of individuals from the Horn of Africa living in Belfast. More general research by ICR has highlighted a disturbing failure on the part of the criminal-justice system to address hate crime adequately. Although recorded racist incidents are significantly lower in Northern Ireland, in proportion to population, than in Great Britain, the system seems much less sensitised to address them. Thus only 10 to15 per cent of racist crimes are cleared up by the PSNI, as against around 45 per cent for the Metropolitan Police Service and more than 60 per cent for the police in Strathclyde. In only 17 per cent of such cases sent to the Public Prosecution Service are sanctions pursued, whereas 54 per cent lead to court proceedings in Scotland. Part of the problem is lack of political leadership. Northern Ireland’s main governing parties, ethno-nationalist to the core, are unable to imagine a normal, civic society where all individuals, regardless of ethnic background, are able to enjoy equality of citizenship, reciprocal recognition and impartial treatment, in a framework of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The consciousness-raising around racism in

Abuse: Research by the Institute for Conflict Research has highlighted a failure on the part of the criminal-justice system to address hate crime adequately Britain in recent decades — for all that much remains to be done—has thus largely passed them by (the extraordinarily stereotyped suggestion by the DUP Health Minister that he might extend his ban on blood donations by gays, lifted elsewhere in the UK, to those who had ‘sex in Africa’ was a recent example). They have thus proved incapable of developing a robust policy to address all forms of intolerance, shading into hate crime at its margins, since they casually binned A Shared Future and the Racial Equality Strategy shortly after devolution was restored in 2007. The various groups representing minority communities individually and severally, and cognate organisations like the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers and Law Centre (NI), do try their best to highlight the challenge of racist hate crimes. But the mainstream voluntary sector can and should do more to raise public awareness. It has fallen to the PSNI to lead the Unite Against Hate PR campaign. And past research by University of Ulster academics showed that only a very small minority of voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland address the sectarian divide—never mind taking on board in today’s globalised world the broader cosmopolitan challenge of including the Other, whoever she may be, within the Self. But there are good examples. Often seen as a purely Northern Ireland inter-faith reconciliation organisation, with its roots in wider European anti-fascism, the Corrymeela Community has demonstrated that cosmopolitan disposition. Quite a few newcomers to Northern Ireland have joined the ranks of its volunteers in recent years. One sixth of recorded racist incidents in

the region take place in south Belfast and for the last three years the Common Grounds café there has hosted the weekly social gathering which is the Belfast Friendship Club. Established by the South Belfast Roundtable in response to such incidents, the club offers a safe space for dialogue and to date more than 700 individuals have taken part, drawn from more than 80 nationalities. A plethora of formal and informal events have developed around the friendship club, building a powerful social network of support. The vibrancy of the friendship club rests on its ethos of hospitality. The latest census will shortly reveal a Northern Ireland which can no longer (if ever it could) sensibly be characterised as comprising ‘two communities’. And that lesson of openness is one all voluntary organisations will need to learn if they are play their part in ensuring that, on the street, the region’s growing cultural diversity is managed in a peaceful and tolerant fashion. Dr Robin Wilson advises the Council of Europe on intercultural dialogue and in particular its intercultural Cities programme with the European Commission. Along with Paul Hainsworth, he recently wrote a paper for the European Network Against Racism on the threat from the far right across Europe, launched in March at the European Parliament. He also recently conducted an evaluation of the Belfast Friendship Club, which seeks to welcome newcomers to the city. He is chair of Horn of Africa People’s Aid Northern Ireland.


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A conference first for Albinism Fellowship

T

he Albinism Fellowship (UK & Ireland) recently held their first ever Albinism Ireland mini-conference at the Fairways Hotel, Dundalk, Ireland. This was an event for people with albinism, family, friends and professionals. Albinism is a comparatively rare genetically inherited group of conditions which results in a reduction or complete lack of pigment (colour) in the skin, hair and eyes of people with the condition. This can result in pale skin which burns easily in the sun, virtually white hair, very severe short-sight and photophobia (a severe sensitivity to light). This conference was organised by the Albinism Fellowship (UK & Ireland) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (NI). It was funded by the Sensory Engagement Project, RNIB Northern Ireland and the Community Foundation for Ireland. The conference included a full information and discussion based programme, a creche and exhibition area. Mark Sanderson, chair of the Albinism Fellowship (UK & Ireland), said: “In recognition of our growing membership across Ireland, North and South and an increasing awareness and interest in albinism generally, we are delighted to be able to increase our activity through this conference.” Rosaleen Dempsey, Albinism Fellowship Trustee and Contact Person for Northern Ireland, said, “This was an exciting opportunity to raise the profile of albinism in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and to let people living here learn more about the support and services available to them.”

Discussion: Rosaleen Dempsey, centre, about to address the mini-conference on albinism in Dundalk The first topic covered in the conference programme was about albinism and its effect on vision. This talk was given by Sarah Chamney, Registrar in the Ophthalmology Department of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. This was followed by a parent and pre-school panel discussion. Panellists were parents of children with albinism or parents with albinism. Joan Curran, an educational psychologist working in the Republic of Ireland gave a talk on educational assessment for children with low vision associated with albinism. The final panel discussion was entitled “Living with Albinism” and the panel was made up of adults with albinism who were involved in

Your Rights in Northern Ireland

Twoje prawa w /ƌůĂŶĚŝŝWſųŶŽĐŶĞũ z sĂƓĞƉƌĄǀĂǀ Severnom Írsku z Seus Direitos na Irlanda do Norte z ㌷⦷ ▦䓀⺣⏿䤓 ╂ぴ 㧒Ⓒ

A guide for migrant workers

www.lawcentreni.org www.nihrc.org www.nidirect.gov.uk

z :ƻƐƵƚŝĞƐţďĂƐ ŝĞŵĞŲţƌŝũĈ z :ƻƐƿƚĞŝƐĦƐaŝĂƵƌĦƐ Airijoje z ʦʤˌʰʿˀʤʦʤʦ ˁʫʦʫˀʻʽʱ ʰˀʸʤʻʪʰʰ z ʦ̛̹̯̖̪̬̌̌̏̌̏ ˁ̖̖̬̦̏̌ ʰ̛̬̣̦̌̔́ z Drepturile ĚƵŵŶĞĂǀŽĂƐƚƌĉŠŶ Irlanda de Nord To display or distribute free copies of this poster or of the Polish version of the guide, contact: catherine.couvert @lawcentreni.org

the fields of paralympic sport, music, higher education or campaigning. The exhibition area hosted services for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Among these services were RNIB Northern Ireland, The National Council for the Blind of Ireland, specialist schools for children with sight loss, parent support organisations and assistive and adaptive technology companies. For further information, contact, Rosaleen Dempsey, Albinism Fellowship (UK & Ireland), email: rosaleen.dempsey@rnib.org, telephone: 028 9033 4116

Invite to join social media workshop VIEW – on VIEWdigital.org (http://www.viewdigital.org/) will be hosting training workshops in digital communications, broadcast journalism and multi-media production at EGSA in Belfast city centre over coming months. Kathleen Holmlund, left, will lead a workshop on social media on October 17. A panel of journalists will join her to do Q&As on journalists’ use of social media. As an early adopter of the digital revolution and new media channels, Kathleen managed major human rights media outreach programs and campaigns in Washington, DC, between 20042010, where she championed the integration of effective story-telling on digital platforms into her organization’s communications plans. She is also a visiting lecturer on the University of Ulster’s Digital Media Communication course. If you would like to join Kathleen’s workshop please contact Una Murphy email: unamurphy@viewdigital.org.

Active in the Community winners The winners of the VIEW digital magazine competition for the two-day conference pass (£90) to enjoy two days of Active in the Community conference and opportunity to network with over 70 exhibitors and fellow delegates at the Ramada Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast on October 9th and 10th are: Angela Stallard, Senior Advocacy Officer, PlayBoard NI; Fiona Mc Cabe, Chief Executive, Headway; and Keith Pryde, Regional Sales Manager (Northern Ireland) Shred-it. Jenny Ebbage, partner at Edwards & Co Solicitors,and a regularcontributor to VIEW magazine, will be presenting "Legal Issues Arising When Organisations Work Collaboratively" at 12 noon on Tuesday, October 9. For further information on this presentation follow weblink: http://www.edwardsandcompany.co.uk/120912.htm For the latest information on Active in the Community go to the website: http://www.activeinthecommunity.com VIEW digital magazine will also be at the exhibition so call by to say hello!


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The Big Picture Geraldine Campbell, NI Committee member with Big Lottery Fund, with Stephen Watson, Young Ambassador with The Prince’s Trust, and actor Dan Gordon celebrate the launch of a new series of Get Started programmes, which are aimed at giving disadvantaged young people the opportunity to get their lives back on track Image: Harrison Photography If you want your community/voluntary organisation to be selected for The Big Picture in the next issue, send images to editorial@viewdigital.org

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From left: Angela Davies, Co-operative Enterprise Hub; Jo Bird, Co-operative Business Consultants; Brian O'Neill,North West Enterprise; Anna McAleavy, Co-operative Group; Tiziana O’Hara, NI Co-operative Forum; Dave Hollings, Co-operative Mutual Solutions and Michael Faiclough, Co-operative Enterprise Hub

‘Increasing employment and a fairer distribution of wealth are co-op aims’ T By Una Murphy

he Co-operative movement can build on the work of credit unions and vital links already set up in the agricultural and fisheries sector to set up more co-op businesses, according to Tiziana O’Hara, development officer, NI Co-operative Forum. The Co-operative Enterprise Hub in Northern Ireland was launched in Derry and Belfast with plans for the co-operatives to become more diverse and to develop new businesses in other sectors including renewal energy, education, training, health and childcare. “Increasing employment, social inclusion, and a fairer distribution of wealth” were the aims of co-op enterprises, Ms O’Hara said. Prominent environmentalist Jonathon Porritt has publicly invested in and backed a new co-op business in Northern Ireland, Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative – which has extended its share offer until the end of November. It plans to build and operate up to five 250kW wind turbines across Northern Ireland and has been created by local company NRG Solutions in partnership with Energy4All – a not for profit social enterprise. Nigel Brady, the chairman of Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative and director of Bryson Energy, said he was “delighted” with the response by the community and voluntary sector to the share offer. “It’s great to see Northern Ireland people interested in the project,” he said. “Bryson Charitable Group has put in £20,000 and Fer-

Support: Drumlin chairman Nigel Brady and Lauri McCusker of the Fermanagh Trust, which has invested the maximum amount of £20K in Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative managh Trust has also put in £20,000.” He appealed to more local people to consider buying a share – from £250 – as an investment for the future and Christmas gift for grandchildren. For more details of the Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative share offer go to http://www.drumlin.coop Stephen Agnew MLA, chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s All Party Group on Cooperatives and Mutuals, said there were a small number of politicians who understood the im-

portance of co-operatives and there was a greater understanding of social enterprises. He added that more than profit businesses would be important in rebalancing the local economy. Christopher Boyd from the Co-operative Group in Northern Ireland said that community groups can apply to the Co-op’s Community Fund for small grants. Go the weblink for more details: http://www.cooperative.coop/membership/localcommunities/community-fund/funding-selectioncriteria/

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