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Dia De Los Muertos brings a Mexican spirit to Portstewart & Coleraine

local news Nov 08, 2023

A bit of Mexican spirit came to Cappagh Green in Portstewart & Laurel Hill Gardens in Coleraine this week with a special Dia De Los Muertos event.

Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated in Mexico and in many other parts of the world in October and November, where families remember the dead in a joyful way. The Dia De Los Muertos events at Cappagh Green and Laurel Hill Gardens featured all the colour of the traditional celebrations, with many ‘calavera' - the famous skull masks - on show as well as plenty of Mexican food and dance.

This event is part of the Year of Culture which is being organised by Radius Housing, Habinteg Housing and Artsekta in the Portstewart and Coleraine area. Working with the local community a Cultural Calendarhas been planned, with events across six towns and villages which celebrate the diversity of our local communities, from Polish Constitution Day and Eid, to Día de los Muertos and Diwali.

Dia De Los Muertos and the wider Cultural Calendar programme is supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executives Housing for AllShared Housing Programme. The Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy which reflects the Executives commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.  A total of £8,615,706 has been invested in the Cappagh Green and Laurel Hill Gardens Shared Housing development and associated five-year Good Relations Plan.

The Cappagh Green development was completed by Radius Housing in 2022, and is the first mixed tenure housing development in the north-west area. The development consists of 75 social homes and 12 affordable homes.

Speaking at the event, Laura Young from Radius Housing said “The Cultural Calendar celebrates the many cultures which are represented in the community here in Portstewart and Coleraine areas, and bring the colours, tastes and sounds of these to the local community. There has been a really great response to these events, with many families coming along to join the fun.

“The day of the dead, or Dia De Los Muertos, is a really joyful, colourful celebration of family and friends, and we are delighted that this has been one of the events on our Cultural Calendar.”

Radius Housing Association currently has 12 shared housing developments across Northern Ireland. The Cappagh Green and Laurel Hill Gardens Good Relations Plan includes Bridgingevents which are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes which include Health and Wellbeing, Education and Training, Advice and Advocacy, Community Development and Arts and Culture.

The Cultural Calendar initiative came from work which Radius Housing and Habinteg Housing undertook with their community Joint Advisory group in Portrush and Portstewart in 2021. The group recognised the value in organising cultural programmes which had educational value, as well as being fun for the local community. Radius continues to work in partnership with the local Advisory Group stakeholders, and with residents to develop the schemes Good Relations Plan.

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