Young people from across Mid and East Antrim have been sharing their stories of how the Coronavirus pandemic affected them as part of Good Relations Week 2021.

The video series, available on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s YouTube channel, tells the real life experiences of young people across the borough throughout the past year, the challenges they’ve faced and how they’re now coping. It also includes performances from Uplift Performing Arts.

Good Relations Week runs annually and showcases a mix of arts, history, music, sport and culture-based events from a diverse range of organisations across Northern Ireland.

The theme for this year is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ which celebrates the efforts of young people in their everyday lives to break down barriers, unite communities and act as a catalyst for peace building and cultural diversity in our society.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “We’re proud to celebrate our young people and hear their moving stories as part of this year’s Good Relations Week. Statistics show that young people are one of the most affected groups during the Pandemic. Thanks goes to those who took part and to Carrick Connect, UpLift and Carrickfergus YMCA for helping us create this video series.

“Sharing ideas as young people navigate becoming part of the diverse wider community in today’s post-conflict society is so important. Young people have had to adapt and embrace new technology, develop new skills and form online relationships whilst still learning and becoming involved in global issues and changes as a result of Covid.

“I would encourage anyone of any age to watch these videos, and even though very timely now, they will become part of our history during this time soon enough. The accounts are refreshingly honest, showing the depth of spirit and innovative approaches these young people have taken whilst progressing their own development, life experiences and careers. We hope this series will inspire new ideas and promote respect and understanding in our future generations.”

The Community Relations Council co-ordinates the week with the support of a Steering Committee comprising of The Executive Office, Department for Communities, Department of Justice, Education Authority, Libraries NI, Cathedral Quarter Trust and The Nerve Centre.

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council added: Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this year’s dynamic programme of events, helping to make Good Relations Week a modern celebration of our diverse culture and heritage. We are once again thrilled to be able to deliver this showcase of cross community and multi-cultural arts, history, music and culture.”

This project is funded through Mid and East Antrim’s Good Relations Programme. Good Relations Week is co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council and supported by The Executive Office. It contributes to delivering the Together: Building a United Community Strategy.

For more information on the Good Relations Week 2021 programme of events visit www.goodrelationsweek.com or keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #GRW2021