Carrick woman Lee Robb is committed to presenting the town in a positive light.
Just over a year ago, she formed “Positive Carrickfergus”, an initiative which she believes can “build community, connectivity and creativity” amongst local residents.
Lee explained: “As a resident myself, I had long been part of the problem in Carrick as I was one of many who could only see the town in a negative light.
“I decided to be part of the solution and seek out others in Carrick who were already making a contribution or wanted to do so in order to help to shape a more Positive Carrickfergus.”
To develop her idea further, Lee contacted “The People’s Accelerator Programme”, a free, six-month programme focused on developing ideas for social change and innovation in communities across Northern Ireland.
Lee said: “Before I took part in the programme, the online Positive Carrickfergus community was growing but we hadn’t done much together offline.
“The mentors on the programme helped me to increase my confidence and recognise that I had the skills, knowledge and experience to continue to develop the project in a meaningful way.”
Since October 2017, Positive Carrickfergus has grown into a community of almost 2,500 people on Facebook. The project actively promotes the good things that are already happening in Carrick to challenge the dominant negative narrative that stops people from telling good stories about the town and participating in civic and community life.
In just over 12 months, the momentum created online by Positive Carrickfergus has moved successfully offline too. In June, the group held its first community Big Lunch in the Town Hall, attracting over 100 people. Building on the success of their first lunch, they held another Big Lunch in September and are planning Leftovers Big Lunch between Christmas and New Year.
Lee also helped to bring Big Telly Theatre Co. to Carrickfergus with their Creative Shops project for eight weeks from August to October. The project was supported by Mid and East Antrim Council and unearthed a wealth of creativity.
‘Meet Up Mondays’, a collaboration with two local churches, Good Morning Carrickfergus, Seeds Carrickfergus and Ownie’s Pub and Bistro brings together people who are feeling isolated to chat, make new friends and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.
To find out more about the People’s Accelerator Programme 2019 and how to bring your idea for social change in your community to life, contact Amplify NI on 028 90020172 or visitwww.amplifyni.org/accelerator