Bandon building community spirit
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.