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Lord Mayor launches ‘connect’ series aimed at progressing action

Date: 03 Feb 2022

Category: Supporting communities

Councillor Kate Nicholl

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl has hosted the first of a series of ‘connections and conversations’ aimed at bringing organisations and policy makers together to progress action on a range of issues.

The ‘Connecting #OurBelfast’ series will see the Lord Mayor host meetings on a range of social, economic and environmental topics.

Today’s discussion was held in partnership with Action for Children and was focussed on examining what political and social action can be taken to address child poverty.

Councillor Nicholl said: “Child poverty is very real and it’s happening here in our city. After years of no significant progress on this issue, it’s time we focussed our efforts on what action is needed to address levels of child poverty so that all children have the best start in life.

“Today we heard about the current pressures facing children and their families – pressures that have been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic – and we looked at recent research which has informed clear actions that would help to reduce child poverty rates in Northern Ireland. It is my hope that through this series of connections, we keep the pressure on and begin to make progress on addressing the issue.”

The second event in the ‘Connecting #OurBelfast’ series will see the Lord Mayor host a session with the Commission for Victims and Survivors to look at how victims and survivors are supported to make their voices heard, and to tell their stories.

“There is not one narrative when it comes to the history of our city; we all have different experiences and no two people’s stories are exactly the same, so it’s hugely important that everyone feels heard,” said Councillor Nicholl.

“Our community plan is committed to leave no one behind, and that includes victims and survivors. It’s important that they feel supported to tell their stories and that we consider how they might be included in conversations around tourism and the arts, commemoration, and the use of public spaces.”

Councillor Nicholl added: “Since becoming Lord Mayor I have had the privilege of meeting so many people across the city and witnessing the enormous amount of positive work that’s taking place on range of important issues that affect us all, and to address some of the inequalities that exist in our society.

“Over the last two years, the pandemic has impacted this work by disrupting some of the natural collaborations that haven’t been able to happen due to the Covid restrictions, but as restrictions begin to ease and we start to experience a bit more normality again, I thought it would be useful to provide a space to bring people together to take stock and keep the momentum going.

“None of these issues can be solved by one person or one organisation; they require collective responsibility and a collective approach, and it is my hope that as we open up these conversations again, and start to make those connections that we will bring new energy and ideas to the table to bring about real change.”

A number of other sessions will be hosted by Councillor Nicholl in the coming weeks.

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