Sounds, Stories and Tastes of Ballybane


Why do we choose to live in this or that community? Is it the energy of the place, the buzz of it?

Maybe the decision to move (or stay) is a matter of practicality, family or available housing. It takes little to inspire a sense of belonging in your neighbourhood. A joke in line at the post office can bring it on, or an awkward nod at the street lights from a familiar face, but what carries social connection beyond niceties?

This question clearly resounded with members of the Ballybane Taskforce, as they set about programming an impressive roster of creative and culinary workshops for local young people.

Galway 2020’s Small Towns Big Ideas’ project, Belonging in Ballybane, is about fostering understanding across cultures through self-development and good old fashioned chit chat.

On Saturday 15 June, Belonging in Ballybane has organised a day of music, yarns and cuisine as diverse as the Galway neighbourhood itself. The event runs from 3pm to 5pm in the Ballybane Community Centre, where you can expect live music, art exhibitions, captivating stories and mouth-watering cookery demos.

At the heart of the Belonging project is a vision of a just and inclusive Ballybane, where opportunities are available to all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, class, sexuality or religious/political beliefs. Empathy is the main concern here, and empathy is partly an exercise in imagination. Where basic communication falls short, other forms of expression step in.

With support from Galway 2020’s Small Towns Big Ideas programme, the Ballybane Taskforce organised a ten-week intercultural music programme for teenagers headed by youth worker and musician Tracy Friel. Songs were written and the plunk of many a Ukulele could be heard throughout the halls. The teens learned basic drumming techniques and laid down their very own beats using special software.

Another focus was food – the universal language. Tusla Community Chef Delia Greally and Elements of Empowerment founder Dee Baker facilitated cookery activities for children spanning a six-week period. Each child had the opportunity to share a recipe from their own culture. In preparing and snacking on delicious food, they were introduced to different languages and ways of life. Baker also ran a storytelling workshop of the same duration. The workshop offered a safe space for teenagers where stories and anecdotes could flow naturally across cultural boundaries.

The Belonging in Ballybane Project is one of many projects from Galway 2020 aimed at creating new conversations and ways of thinking. Show up this Saturday and remember what it was that drew you to this neck of the woods in the first place.

For further info, contact Imelda in Galway City Partnership by email or call 091 768 305.

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