MAYO Social Inclusion Awareness Week – running from October 15 to 21 – supports and highlights a series of initiatives that foster connection and equality.
Events that are vibrant, diverse and interesting will take place in many towns throughout the county, including Monday’s No Limbs No Limits talk and discussion by Joanne O’Riordan in Westport Library at 7.30 p.m.
Joanne is a sports journalist, equality activist, Young Person of the Year Award winner, and TEDx and UN speaker.
Speaking of her involvement, Joanne says: “I'm really happy to be involved in Mayo Social Inclusion Awareness Week. It's an important initiative that raises awareness and creates conversation around the inclusion of all people in all day-to-day activities in Ireland. The more we enable and empower everyone, the more all-encompassing and balanced society we build.”
Other highlights taking place next week include: Mind Your Mental Health (workshop) in the Safari Club, Castlebar, on Tuesday; the Importance of Making Healthy Connections, Castlebar Library, on Wednesday; In Her Shoes (workshop) in Lough Lannagh, also on Wednesday; Connecting with Young People Through a Human Library, Ballinrobe Library, on Thursday; the official launch event of the Local Link Mayo rural transport programme in the Museum of Country Life, Turlough, on Friday; a coffee morning with Involve Youth Project Ballina at Lower Lord Edward Street, also on Friday; an open day at the Karen GIY Community Garden, Ballina, on Saturday; The Cloth of Dreams (exhibition) in Claremorris Family Resource Centre, also on Saturday; and a family fun day with Crossmolina Badminton Club on Sunday.
Mayo Social Inclusion Awareness Week was lauched on October 5 in the Kennedy Glasgow Centre, Ballina, by the writers and artists of A Strong Heart - a book of stories and dreams for the future by the Syrian and Palestinian children living in Co. Mayo. The children who participated in the launch are currently residing in Ballina, and they are sisters Lina (12) and Rahaf (14) Shheideh and brothers Amer (10) and Rashed (14) Hussien.
The event was opened with an incredible performance by John Hoban and his wife Isabella. John is a composer, singer, musician and author from Castlebar who brings music to various and diverse communities. He has worked extensively with the elderly, people with disabilities, refugees and rural communities.
Other guest speakers at the event were Jo Holmwood, acting CEO at Kids' Own Publishing Partnership, and Rachel Mansour, resettlement support worker at South West Mayo Development Company. They spoke of their experience of being involved in A Strong Heart.
“Kids’ Own is the only publishing company in Ireland that publishes books by kids for kids,” said Jo. “We are deeply committed to publishing and developing children’s work in Ireland. We believe that children’s contribution to our culture and our society, as artists and writers, needs to be more widely valued and recognised.”
Amongst the many Mayo County Council representatives in attendance was director of services for community and integrated development, Catherine McConnell. She spoke of the importance of Mayo Social Inclusion Awareness Week in highlighting initiatives throughout the county that develop and support equality and social connectedness. Ms. McConnell also complimented the work of the Mayo LCDC Social Inclusion and Community Development Working Group, which is responsible for the coordination of next week's events.
The launch was closed by Bernard Lawrence, a 15-year-old singer from Castlebar who is gaining much attention and adulation for his talent. He performed for President Michael D. Higgins at the launch of the Travellers Journey exhibition at the National Museum of Country Life in Turlough on July 10, and so impressed was President Higgins by his performance that he requested Bernard to perform at Áras an Uachtaráin as part of the Culture Night celebrations on September 21.
You can find out more about next week's events on www.mayosocialinclusionweek.com.