BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Dr Christopher Stange, African Caribbean Community Support Organisation of Northern Ireland (ACSONI) acting chair and Hon. Consul for St Vincent and the Grenadines to Northern Ireland, along with Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann, junior ministers in the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMdFM), have launched ACSONI’s Strategic Plan for 2013-2018 at Stormont Parliament.
The strategy focuses on eight specific objectives to increase integration, community development, cohesion and empowerment for the Caribbean and African Diaspora, with a primary focus upon furthering engagement with all stakeholders (public, private and voluntary) and representative communities in Northern Ireland.
Bell said, “Since its formation in 2003 ACSONI has grown in size, stature and regard until it has become a key member of the minority ethnic community here. As it has grown so has the breadth and scale of its services offered and ambitions. I am impressed with the eight strategic aims you have set out because they promote a fair and equal society which embraces and celebrates Northern Ireland’s increasingly inter-cultural identity in the spirit of mutual respect and growth.”
McCann said, “Starting a new life in a new country can be a very daunting and challenging experience. People can feel isolated, alienated and vulnerable. ACSONI do so much to address this and play an increasingly important role in helping to inspire, challenge, help and advocate for their membership. ACSONI has for 10 years represented the pride, drive and talent of the African Caribbean people here and I am confident this strategy will continue that work for the next 5 years and beyond.”
Stange added, “We are committed to social cohesion and integration, because of the enrichment it provides. An inclusive, integrated, equal and shared society, which is at peace with itself, is what we are determined to achieve. We are working for a shared brighter future no matter of race, background or creed, that every citizen has equal opportunity and full participation in civic life.”
The Caribbean and African Diaspora is becoming one of the largest, diverse and fastest growing ethnic minority communities in Northern Ireland,