A Big Palava

The Big Palava, organised by Co-operation Ireland, was an innovative 'open space' event where participants walked from their homes and communities, met in Belfast City Centre and then brought their message to Parliament Buildings. The event was designed to give participants, who represent different sections of the community, an opportunity to voice their concerns and to try to bring about meaningful change.

Using mobile phones, social networking technology, photos and text messages the participants highlighted the issues that impacted upon them as individuals and residents made their way to the city centre from their own areas and homes. Topics included derelict and contested spaces; graffiti; youth provision; racism; sectarianism; commemorations; interfaces; barriers; abandoned shop fronts; and new and emerging communities.

After a short discussion with other participants from across Belfast the group then travelled to Parliament Buildings, on 'A Big Palava' branded Translink buses.

At Stormont the participants discussed and shared issues before meeting MLAS.
Sammy Douglas MLA, Chris Lyttle MLA, Basil McCrea MLA and Cathal Ó hOisin MLA spent time answering questions and listening to the issues of the group.

The session was very successful in facilitating shared learning, interactions, connections and exchanges of best practice. It gave opportunities for people from all parts of the city to work on future projects cooperatively and reflected the work that politicians make at local levels.

Barry Fennell

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