Over 90 participants enjoy Cultural Café project

Over 90 participants enjoy Cultural Café project

Tue, September 28, 2021

A successful language and cultural initiative has seen people from different cultures and communities forge new friendships and explore different traditions and languages together.

The Cultural Café was a joint project between Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Good Relations Programme and Causeway Multicultural Forum, aiming to encourage people from different ethnic minority backgrounds and local residents to learn more about the cultures of different countries and share experiences and knowledge.

Over 90 people took part in the initiative which focussed on Spanish, Italian and Polish cultures, traditions and language.  Participants were introduced to lifestyles typical for each country, including traditional costumes, dances and music, cuisine, and celebrations, alongside interesting historical and geographical facts.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes, said “I’m delighted that this programme provided such a great opportunity to learn about other cultures and languages.  It has enabled participants to appreciate different cultures and make friends with people outside of their usual circles.  We are very proud of the diversity of our Borough and initiatives like this enable us to embrace our diversity.”

Each week, interactive sessions explored culture, history and traditions of Spain, Italy and Poland. Participants explored the typical lifestyle of each country, including traditional costumes, dance, music, cuisine, celebrations and learned interesting historical and geographical facts.

Topics covered included the legacy of Muslims in Spain, Flamenco dancing and Bullfighting.  Participants also enjoyed singing along, karaoke style, with popular Italian singers.  There was also the opportunity to learn about life in Poland, traditional Polish celebrations and the Polish community in Northern Ireland.

Many of those who took part have developed new friendships which have continued outside of the weekly Cultural Café sessions.

Good Relations Officer Bebhinn McKinley added: “The Cultural Cafe not only widened understanding of different cultural traditions and language but has also addressed the social isolation many in our communities are experiencing due to the pandemic.  For some people, this was their first time to participate in a good relations programme and they greatly enjoyed the experience”.

Margarita Vidinova coordinated the project on behalf of the Causeway Multicultural Forum and was pleased it had been so well received, adding: “We are very happy that this project brought together so many people from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds and gave them the opportunity to form great friendships between themselves and the tutors.“

This project received support from The Executive Office and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council through the District Council Good Relations Programme, and from the Enkalon Foundation.