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We were lucky with the weather and the new location. There was even welcome shade from the trees and a gentle, very gentle breeze to cool us all down. We handed out food tickets to everyone who arrived at our reception tent. Upwards of 1000 people attended.
The pictures will speak for the picnic itself, the food prepared by trained volunteers this year, our regular DJ Michael, a juggler, dancers, a choir ‘Change the World in Song’, the singers instrumentalists and of course our stalwart friend Wilson Magwere, all helped along by continuity provided by Sipho Sibanda.
We were pleased to welcome the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Áine Groogan as our principal guest.
One of the most of most joyous part of the afternoon was the communal folk dancing, impromptu and lively. This drew in people from a number of cultures, including native ‘Belfasters.’ We felt that we were one people for those moments, symbolic of what we wanted to achieve.
Our friend, Khaled was present again this year and made a video which we’ve shared. Many thanks Khaled!
Well done, everyone. Part 2 will concentrate on our volunteers and the preparations to make this happen.
We cannot pull off this big picnic without the generous support of individuals, groups and organisations, and the unions – NIPSA, Nasuwt, Unite, UNISON, FBU, NIC-ICTU, Ballynafeigh Community Development Association Ballynafeigh, staff at Belfast City Council and Ulidia and our many friends including Liz Griffiths who took charge of the ever popular face painting. There’s always a risk of leaving someone out; to all, a grateful thanks.
This year, after we trained volunteers up to cater for the picnic, with hygiene certificates awarded in the process. This was a resounding success! Many thanks for the delicious food.
Very special thanks to our Coordinator Israel Eguaogie for his customary assured leadership in organising this event.
Belfast City of Sanctuary is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund; its support has been essential to the development of Belfast City of Sanctuary to the point where Belfast City Council has declared the City to be a City of Sanctuary.
The theme for this year’s Refugee Week, of which our picnic was just one event, was Compassion.
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