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Embracing Diversity

13 April 2015

Looking at the impact of European Migration on Communities in Northern Ireland.

To kick-start CSV and New European’s ‘Community Voices’ programme, one of six seminars was held in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast March 31.  This programme - funded by the European Commission - aims to promote positive dialogue between communities and EU migrants and creates a space for discussion on what has become quite a heated topic in the mainstream media and public sphere.

CSV is one of the UK’s leading volunteering charities and Volunteer Now was delighted to work in partnership with them to organise this Northern Ireland seminar. Local speakers were invited to talk about the impact of EU migrants on the Northern Ireland community in particular to help sort the facts from the fiction.

The speakers included, Nicola Lane, Good Relations Manager of Belfast City Council, Murray Watt, Liaison Officer of Supporting Communities NI, Eva Grosman, Chief Executive at the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and Professor Peter Shirlow, Deputy Director at the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Social Justice. 

Professor Peter Shirlow shared recent evidence from the research report, ‘Challenging Racism: Ending Hate,’ on the real impact of EU Migrants and outlined areas such as, population, employment, housing, economy, healthcare and education, emphasising the economic and social benefits contributed by our migrant community.

Volunteer Now was delighted to bring together community representatives and volunteers to engage their voices on this important topic.  Each speaker outlined the facts from both a professional and personal perspective. There was a real sense of passion and energy from the speakers and the roundtable discussion about valuing diversity, showing respect and being the kind of community where everyone’s well being is important.

The full research report ‘Challenging Racism: Ending Hate’ is available to download:  http://bit.ly/1FlzxDT 

Thanks to Natalie McFall, a student on placement from Coventry University, who assisted with this event and provided this short report.

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