Ban­don build­ing com­mu­nity spirit

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Áilín Qun­lan

A West Cork town is plan­ning to bring res­i­dents from dif­fer­ent cul­tures to­gether in a se­ries of monthly ini­tia­tives aimed at nur­tur­ing a feel­ing of com­mu­nity spirit be­tween lo­cal peo­ple of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties.

A mes­sage en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to turn up was trans­lated into a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent lan­guages and posted on Face­book for the lat­est event — a get-to­gether on the town’s new bridge, which was spe­cially or­gan­ised for Septem­ber 9 by the group Ide­al­ist. Org — an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion whose mis­sion is to make the world a bet­ter place.

The week­end event, called Ide­al­ist 09/09, saw some 30 Ban­don res­i­dents from lo­ca­tions such as the Philip­pines, Egypt, Poland, and Hun­gary come to­gether with lo­cals to show­case the dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties in the town.

A ban­ner car­ry­ing the words ‘Ban­don Build­ing Bridges, Not Walls’ was sus­pended from the bridge.

A sim­i­lar project was held on Au­gust 8 last and an event will now take place ev­ery month for the fore­see­able fu­ture: “Fol­low­ing the Au­gust event, sim­i­lar events were car­ried out by mem­bers of Ide­al­ist.Org at lo­ca­tions all over the world — the Far East, Asia, Europe, the USA,” says Tom McCleary, a mem­ber of Ide­al­ist.org.

“This is some­thing that com­mu­ni­ties should do more of,” he said. “Most towns in Ire­land now have a di­verse range of na­tion­al­i­ties liv­ing in them and, as of now, they don’t tend to min­gle enough in terms of com­mu­nity. In Ban­don, we have lots of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties, and we don’t all seem to get in­volved in com­mu­nity projects to­gether.”

Mr McCleary said the Ban­don Men’s Shed, of which he was the co­or­di­na­tor, had at­tracted men of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties. On a gen­eral ba­sis, he said, com­mu­ni­ties of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent parts of the world did not ap­pear to min­gle or par­tic­i­pate to­gether in events which took place in the town.

The key, he be­lieves, is lan­guage. For the Septem­ber bridge gath­er­ing event, in­for­ma­tion was put out on Face­book in about eight dif­fer­ent lan­guages — and dou­ble the num­bers turned up. “In Au­gust we had about 15 peo­ple and this time we had about 30. We will be hold­ing an­other com­mu­nity get-to­gether in Oc­to­ber — 10/10,” he de­clared, adding that while he was plan­ning some­thing dif­fer­ent for Oc­to­ber, it would still be com­mu­nity-based.

“We will be putting out ad­vance no­tice of this event in sev­eral lan­guages and ad­ver­tise it on Face­book. We ex­pect this to gather mo­men­tum in the months ahead.”

Ban­don res­i­dents of var­i­ous na­tion­al­i­ties gather on the town’s new bridge for a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive or­gan­ised by Ide­al­ist.Org.

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