On Sunday 13th June ImageNation NI held a Big Lunch at Ormeau Park in partnership with CRAIC NI, a social enterprise that supports inclusion and diversity training and education service.
ImageNation NI began in 2010 with Indian Cultural Night, a very successful event targeted at offering a taste of Indian culture, food, dance and music at Antrim town. Their work involves bringing diverse communities together by building bridges through dance, art and music. Over the years they have grown and built a bridge between the Asian and local community through arts and a wide range of multi-cultural events and offered the opportunity to be more inclusive in the celebration of Indian culture.
Celebrating The Big Lunch was the perfect way, as Covid restrictions ease, for their members to get together safely to enjoy a picnic and to unite cultural interests.
Sanjay Ghosh, Founder of ImageNation NI said:
“We had been involved in the Big Lunch last year as a virtual event and this year we were focused on bringing people together safely for the first time since lockdown as restrictions eased. The Big Lunch offered us the opportunity to celebrate community connections and to re-connect – and that’s exactly what we did! At the event we shared some wonderful food and launched our new ImageNation NI book club, led by Malachi O’Doherty and Sandya Tirupathi. This club will engage our members through reading and creating conversations around diverse cultures. We intend to explore some Irish writers and their works too, as the Irish and Indian experiences have striking similarities and we want to develop awareness and better understanding of these.”
Sanjay added: “We were honoured to be joined by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Kate Nicholl and her family. It was hugely encouraging to hear the Lord Mayor speak of her desire for people, who like her, have chosen to make Belfast home, to also give back to Our Belfast and to get involved in community as we all have today. This event has helped us to grow connections and we can start to build on our membership post-pandemic.”
Grainne McCloskey NI Manager, The Big Lunch was a guest speaker and said:
“The Big Lunch, an idea from the Eden Project is all about bringing people together to help neighbourhoods thrive. That is why the National Lottery fund us and it’s why Iceland Food Warehouse are supporting, but this doesn’t happen unless people have the confidence to organise something where they live. Today was full of joy and optimism as ImageNation NI launched their book club and people of Indian, Irish and British heritage got together to enjoy each other’s company and a shared love of literature.”
There is still plenty of time to get involved in your own Big Lunch during June #MonthofCommunity, even if it’s only a cup of tea with a few neighbours in the garden or the street. Get your free pack from www.thebiglunch.com or follow The Big Lunch Northern Ireland on Facebook and Twitter @TheBigLunch_NI for an opportunity to win vouchers for those taking part.