03 Dec 2021

Large crowds line out for Ballymahon World Integration Day at Bridgeways FRC


Monika, Marek and Leon Szapan with Slavo Debski.

Bridgeways Family Resource Centre held a massive event to mark World Integration Day on Monday 19th November.

Grace Kearney Project Coordinator explained that the aim of the event was to bring “new and existing communities” together.

ALSO READ: Bridgeways Family Resource Centre promotes Positive Mental Health in Ballymahon

The population of Ballymahon is continuing to soar and according to 2016 CSO statistics the population is made up of 25% of 'New Communities'.

Last week,over 20 Nationalities, business owners and services came together to enjoy an array of home cooked dishes, listen to traditional music from Poland, Brazil and Ireland and, to top it off, there was a great display of Irish Dancing.

Bridgeways FRC provides vital language supports to new migrants looking to improve their conversational English.

This class is run by local volunteer tutors and takes place every Thursday morning from 10am to 11.30am. It is open to new members and new volunteer tutors.

As part of the class, the English Learners, with the aid of a grant from the Department of Justice Integration Fund, in conjunction with LCRL, carried out an art project with Artist Phil Atkinson over an 8 week period.

The ideology behind the project was to decorate door mats for every business and service on Main Street Ballymahon.

The doormat was to act as a catalyst for integration and belonging to the area.

All business owners gladly received their doormats and have them on display on the threshold of their premises.

“Integration is pivotal to the future of any community and in particular to foster a sense of belonging to an area, having events like these can act as a catalyst to bring about social change and harmony between different communities and foster a greater sense of community spirit,” said Grace Kearney.

“A simple smile from one person to another in the community does not need a language translation, we are looking forward to growing this project from strength to strength.”

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