TWN were delighted to host over 100 women to the Wellington Park Hotel on 29 March 2018 for the concluding element of our Framing the Future Through the Past project funded by The Executive Office Central Good Relations unit.
The conference was officially opened by the Belfast Lord Mayor Rt Hon. Nuala McAllister.
Each of the 6 groups involved had been tasked with researching women in their local areas who had made an impact on Good Relations perhaps in their communities or farther afield.
The 6 groups involved were:
- Ardoyne Association
- Newtownabbey Women’s Group
- Short Strand Women’s Group
- East Belfast Independent Women’s Group
- Galliagh Women’s Group
- Rockies Ladies Social Club
Ardoyne Association explored the work carried out by Nichola Mallon, MLA and produced an art piece depicting words and pictures portraying her work.
Newtownabbey Women’s Group produced a tapestry of Lillian Bland who was the first women to build and fly her own plane, who used local produce and local manpower to help her achieve her goal.
Short Strand Women’s Group prepared an art piece on the Margaret Thatcher, who on one hand was seen as divisive but for some she was a strong female politician in a male dominated world
East Belfast Independent Women’s Group created an art piece out of ceramic tiles depicting women such as Hilary Clinton to local woman Ann Thompson
Galliagh Women’s Group brought their art piece with them! They had researched the great hymn writer, Cecil Frances Alexander who hailed from Derry/L’Derry.
Her hymns were and are used by both communities in the locality.
A young woman played a couple of her hymns on the violin and another dressed as the hymn writer herself.
Rockies Ladies Social Club had researched Betsy Gray. Betsy Gray had been involved with the United Irishmen and was killed by the Yeomanry on 13 June 1798.
The Ulster GAA have a cup in her memory, she was revered by both the Protestant and Catholic community.
We were treated to a musical interlude by a Girls’ Brigade Company and our keynote speaker was Mary Hogg, Manager of Cookstown & District Women’s Group, who spoke about her life growing up in Bellaghy and her work with Cookstown & District Women’s Group.
Each participant was presented with a certificate of completion by Sharon Gough of the PEACE IV & T:BUC / Good Relations & T:BUC Division, Strategic Policy, Equality & Good Relations Directorate, Executive Office.
The evening was rounded off with a dialogue event and inevitably Brexit and Stormont were the two main topics of concern.
The questions were ably fielded by Nichola Mallon, SDLP MPA and Joanne Bunting, DUP, MLA, unfortunately Andy Allen, UUP, MLA had had to leave early.
Over food, cross-community networking and discussions took place.
Huge thanks are due to everyone to took part in this unique project.