AN innovative project is currently taking place between the three primary schools in Cookstown.
Facilitated by the Speedwell Trust, this project called Connecting Communities involves 65 children from Holy Trinity PS, Cookstown PS and Phoenix Integrated PS participating in a series of programmes on a joint basis.
The project is being funded by SEUPB Peace III and is being administered through the South West Council Cluster based in Magherafelt.
This project gives children the opportunity to explore diversity in their community with input from key local agencies including the district councils, the PSNI and churches.
Eamon McClean, the Speedwell Trust Manager said that the aim of the project is to help children to celebrate difference and build cross community links between children, parents and teachers who live and work in the same locality but rarely meet because of the segregated nature of society in Northern Ireland.
As part of the project the PSNI will visit one of the schools.
Constable Marty Allen from Cookstown PSNI said they are very excited to be involved with the Speedwell Trust Connecting Communities project.
“This is a great opportunity, not only for children from different schools to come together, but also to allow them to find out some of the things that the police do in their community,” he said.
Chairman of Cookstown District Council, Councillor Tony Quinn said he was delighted to be invited to Holy Trinity Primary school to witness the unique ‘Connecting Communities’ programme.
“This is a valuable initiative to our district. I wish to congratulate Speedwell on their vision and determination in carrying out this work,” he said.
And he added: “On behalf of Cookstown District Council I also wish to thank the principals, staff and students at each of the primary schools for participating in the connecting communities project.”
Chris McCarney the South West Peace III Manager said the PEACE III Programme has a renewed emphasis on reconciliation criteria and will specifically focus on reconciling communities and contributing towards a shared society.
“We are delighted that the Connecting Communities project directly focuses on working with the next generation of children to achieve this aim,” she added, The project will culminate in a celebration event scheduled to be held in Cookstown in June 2013.