THE Housing Executive provided community cohesion funding to Melmount and East Bank Estates Community Associations Forum to hold a Christmas celebration event earlier this month.
Residents were invited from seven social housing estates in the Strabane area, which included residents from different religions and many different nationalities.
The community groups wanted to offer the hand of friendship to all residents in the area, particularly minority multinational, multi faith and traveller neighbours who may feel socially excluded and marginalised.
The Christmas celebration event took place in the Fir Trees Hotel and was attended by over 160 residents from across the Strabane area.
Guests enjoyed a three-course meal and were entertained by Irish dancing, ethnic dancers, and a musical interlude by Hugh Doherty from the local Traveller community. This was followed by a raffle of prizes donated by local businesses and community organisations.
The evening had a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, with many saying how happy they were that they came along.
Community development officer, Ivan Barr, who helped organise the event, was delighted at the community response.
He said: “Bringing residents together from estates in Strabane has been a great success. We are looking forward to many more opportunities to continue friendships and build long term relations with people from different religious and cultural backgrounds.”
Local Housing Executive manager, Noel McNulty was also at the event, and had this to say: “It’s amazing to see community cohesion funding for events like this proving so successful.
“This is a major stepping stone for residents of all ages to promote lasting relationships and break down barriers to engagement and isolation.
“We hope to see lots more community involvement activities in the Strabane area next year.”