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Local stories go digital and take to the airwaves - Silver surfing across the Foyle

Published on:  17 Nov 2010

Groups representing Inishowen Community Radio, the Greenbank Thursday Club and the Roe Valley 55 + Activity Club, came together this week in Quigley’s Point, Co. Donegal for a celebratory event to broadcast and mark the culmination of an innovative project known as ‘Silver Surfing Across the Foyle’.

Primarily funded by the International Fund for Ireland and administered by the Rural Development Council under its Integrating Community Organisations Programme, the ‘Silver Surfing Across the Foyle’ project brought participants together on a cross community/border basis to capture and broadcast the stories of how the ‘troubles’ impacted upon their lives.  The project also provided a peace-building dimension by supporting the participants in exploring and coming to terms with, in a safe space, the community relations issues/incidents that have fractured relations and hence divided communities across the Inishowen peninsula in the past.

Acting as a lead partner and facilitator in this process, Inishowen Community Radio, the most northerly community station in Ireland, brought together members from the Greenbank Thursday Club in Quigley’s Point, Donegal and the Roe Valley 55+ Activity Club from Ballykelly, Co. Derry/Londonderry, who would never meet under ordinary circumstances.  Through a facilitated process over a series of workshops, participants addressed community relations issues, learnt new IT skills and then put these skills into practice to produce, record and share their stories with the wider community.

The final stories and reflections were captured on CD and aired on Inishowen Community Radio’s talk show, ‘Talktime’ as part of a live outside broadcast which took place during the actual launch event, held in Greenbank Hall, Quigley’s Point. 

Presenting certificates to the participants who successfully completed the programme, Denis Rooney, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland, said: “Working specifically with members of the Greenbank Thursday Club and the Roe Valley 55 + Activity Club, the project brought together an older generation on a cross community and cross border basis, from communities that have endured significant losses in both human lives and community infrastructure as a result of the troubles.  Based on the feedback we have received to date, I have no doubt that this project has been instrumental in beginning a healing process and will provide a means to capture stories which enable the legacy of the troubled past to be heard and easily shared with family members, friends and the wider community well into the future.”

The Chairman of the IFI also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for almost twenty-five years: namely, the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Commenting on behalf of the Rural Development Council, Martin McDonald, Chief Executive, said: “This innovative six month project has proved a very positive and life-changing experience for all involved.  We are very confident that the cross border and cross community contacts established during this project will be maintained and developed in future.  The programme has undoubted potential to be rolled out on a larger scale as a way of bringing diverse groups of people together.”

 Click here to download press release

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