This week’s blog is brought to you by PPI-NI’s managing director, Gareth Harper.
On Friday 2nd February, staff member Leif Frymire and I joined with over 70 young leaders in Belfast for an evening to celebrate the small steps that have been taken to shape a better future for Northern Ireland. The event was organised by the Junior Chamber International (JCI), under the auspices of the OneSmallStepNI campaign. The aim of the campaign is to encourage people in Northern Ireland, and across the island of Ireland, to promote a genuinely shared future by building constructive relationships for the benefit of us all. The campaign recognises that people and groups have been breaking down barriers by taking small or big steps to assist in reconciliation. Those involved, including of course we here at PPI-NI, want to make a difference and create a more inclusive Northern Ireland.
At this special event some of NI’s inspiring young leaders had the opportunity to discuss and share their visions for the future for Belfast (and for our wider community). They were asked to talk about the type of society in which they would like to live in the next 20 years.
The event also brought together a panel comprised of young adult NI political representatives from all of the main parties. At this time of political and economic uncertainty in Northern Ireland the panel were asked to respond to a range of issues, which included:
- Our government– how do we challenge the status quo and encourage our political leaders to create a sustainable and functioning government?
- Our society– how do we enable each other to create a truly shared society?
- Our money– how do we create a strong economy and provide our young people with meaningful and attractive opportunities?
At the end of the evening, inspirational stories of steps taken, both large and small, were presented by key note speakers: Roy McGivern, the Chairman of Linfield Football Club; Michael Boyd, Director of Football Development with the Irish Football Association; and Gary McAllister, the Chairman of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs. Each told stories of how fans and staff working together have taken lots of brave steps (including the use of bull horns!) to transform behaviour at games and address the negative perceptions once held about these teams.
Everyday at PPI-NI our staff, coaches, volunteers and brilliant participants take a range of steps to encourage people in Northern Ireland to promote a genuinely shared future. At PPI-NI we will continue to walk the walk, through showing what is possible and how great this place could be. If that means taking lots more steps and wearing out lots of shoes, so be it…
Well done to everyone involved in making this event happen. Why not show your support by submitting a small step you’ve done via: