A Warm Omagh Welcome at the ERANO Christmas Party | Shared Housing

A boy with Santa | NICRC

Families from across the globe gathered to celebrate the festive season together at the ERANO Christmas Party in the Coffee Shop, Omagh.

The party was supported by Radius Housing and Apex Housing who have Shared Housing developments in the area, and featured a visit from Santa himself, who presented gifts to all the boys and girls.

ERANO (Empowering Refugees and Newcomers Organisation) is a support group for refugees who have settled in the Fermanagh & Omagh area, and the Christmas Party aimed to make these families, from all faiths and walks of life, feel welcome at this special time of year.

Joining in the celebrations were people from Syria, Africa, Hungary, Ukraine, and Thailand, and local people. As well as getting to meet Santa, children also had the chance to try their hand at Christmas crafts, while parents were able to sample global traditional treats such as festive hot chocolate, mulled wine, Lebkuchen, Stollen Cake, Beigli, Mince Pies, and savory snacks.

Advisory Group stakeholders

Radius and Apex Housing continue to work in partnership with local Advisory Group stakeholders and residents, as part of their Good Relations work. Among the Shared Housing developments managed by Radius Housing in Omagh are Woodbrook and Camowen Woods. This event was part of the Good Relations Plan for the area, that includes “bridging” events which are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes such as Health and Wellbeing, Education and Training  

The project was also supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s Housing for All Shared Housing Programme. The Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society. Over £2million has been invested in the two Radius Omagh shared housing developments and associated five-year Good Relations Plans.

Speaking at the event, Blanaid Bruce from Radius Housing said:

“The community across Omagh and Fermanagh has welcomed refugees from all across the globe and are helping them to make a new home here. Christmas is a special time of year, and what ERANO want to demonstrate is that no matter what your beliefs or background, the message of the season is one of warmth and welcome.”

Radius and Apex have shared housing developments across Northern Ireland.