Welcome to Good Relations Week 2022

Good Relations Week 2022 will deliver a positive message that ‘Change Starts With Us’ and it will shine a light on local communities taking action to build a stronger, shared society and a more sustainable future.

During the week we will focus on the link between good relations and the environment, sustainability, and our wider well-being.  This link is not new to many who work on good relations, but it is certainly one that will require more attention in the coming years as sustainability becomes an even more pressing issue.

As well as offering an opportunity to highlight what is already being done, Good Relations Week 2022 will be a chance to develop new connections and partnerships, linking good relations outcomes to wider social benefits including the United Nations goals on sustainability.

The number of events taking place in Good Relations Week is growing every year so this year we have introduced the Good Relations Week Fringe.  We hope this will give everyone a chance to attend all the events that interest them. This is proving popular with the days immediately before and after the week already filling up with events and activities.

It is not too late to get involved by hosting your own event (face to face or online). This could be a workshop, lecture, discussion, music, theatre, exhibition, joint environmental event, archive video, film, and lots more.  Please get in touch, we would love you to join us.

As always, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all the organisers and those who participant in Good Relations Week 2022.  We are very grateful to our committed and enthusiastic Steering Group made up of representatives from The Executive Office, Department for Communities, Department of Justice, Education Authority, Libraries NI, Cathedral Quarter Trust, and the Nerve Centre. This year we welcomed new members bringing additional expertise and insight so thanks also to The Rainbow Project, Another World Belfast, and Northern Ireland Environment Link.

The environment is a theme that integrates well with good relations work, because it is both a shared concern for all sections of society and a shared opportunity to work together for the greater good.

For our part at the Community Relations Council, the Board and staff are committed to ‘Change Starts With Us’.  In addition to funding projects and supporting engagement between groups and sectors interested in this theme, we have appointed an environment champion; implemented a ‘Digital First’ policy when publishing literature; committed to eliminating the purchase of single use plastics and to ensuring that any merchandise produced or procured by CRC is wholly reusable or includes a reusable element. We have also made changes to become a paperless office using IT solutions to support this approach;  included criteria on sustainability, environmental, and Fairtrade standards in our procurement policy; sought to offset our overall carbon footprint by encouraging and participating in good relations projects that have an environmental component; and adopted a policy that takes the environment into account in our travel choices.

It will take all of us to achieve sustainable outcomes so we will all need to be the change we want to see. Small steps, when they are taken by everyone, turn hope to action and make a world of difference.  Please get involved and reinforce the message that ‘Change Starts With Us’!  We look forward to seeing you at Good Relations Week 2022.

Dr. Jacqueline Irwin,
Community Relations Council

Welcome to Good Relations Week 2021

Good Relations Week is the annual celebration of the work that goes on all year round to build peace and good community relationships.  The week’s activities are drawn together by the Community Relations Council with the help of a steering group made up of representatives from The Executive Office, Department for Communities, Department of Justice, Education Authority, Libraries NI, Cathedral Quarter Trust, and the Nerve Centre.  We are grateful to everyone on the steering committee for their help with organising Good Relations Week but most of all we are grateful to you, the organisers of events and participants, for all the imagination, enthusiasm, and commitment you bring to the week.

This year the theme is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ and we are planning a really colourful programme.  The theme was chosen by young people because this year we are shining a light on their efforts to build peaceful, culturally diverse, good, community relationships.  We want to showcase the wide range of projects that young people design, lead or are involved in as they work to break down barriers, unite communities and achieve inclusive change that values everyone in our society. This year’s Good Relations Week will also help us to understand better the issues young people face as they work to build a better future and a chance to explore how we can help them deal with challenges they face.  However, your event does not have to focus specifically on young people, it can cover any aspect of good relations work.  We want everyone to showcase their efforts to build good community relations and hopefully inspire others who are not yet involved in this work.  Whether you are a local group or organisation, a statutory body, a business, a district council, or a regional body, we hope you will host a face-to-face or virtual event during Good Relations Week.  You are part of the wide and varied band of people building a united community in our everyday lives.

Since Covid-19 struck, we have been humbled by and grateful for the extraordinary bravery of those who have worked throughout the pandemic to ensure the rest of us are safe and able to get the things we need to survive.  The pandemic has been the defining feature of the last eighteen months and the Community Relations Council continues to extend its deepest sympathy to all those who have lost loved ones and to those who are still dealing with health issues. Due to the pandemic restrictions, last year we held Good Relations Week online for the first time and we had an amazing response, with more events and even larger audiences so we know you value an opportunity to join events virtually.   This year Good Relations Week 2021 will run from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September.   We hope to reintroduce face-to-face events, subject to government guidelines on Covid-19 restrictions, but based on what we learnt last year, we will also be expanding our virtual offering to make it easy for you to join in, no matter where you are located. The programme will be a blend of face-to-face events, virtual events, and digital content, including workshops, lectures, discussion panels, music, and theatre performance.

We look forward to seeing you at Good Relations Week 2021. You are what the week is there to showcase.

Jacqueline Irwin
CEO, Community Relations Council