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First Citizens share what being @home means to them ahead of bid for European Capital of Culture 202

07 September 2017

First citizens of Derry and Strabane and Belfast have given an intimate glimpse into what being ‘@home’ means to them ahead of their cities’ bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023 by sharing their family snaps.

They say that a picture paints a thousand words, so now both cities are calling on everyone to get involved in the bid by sharing snaps that illustrate what being ‘@home’ is for them - to help shape the artistic concepts and flagship events being hatched.

Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor Councillor MaolĂ­osa McHugh said: “I can very much relate to the @home theme in the bid and the importance that people from both council areas place on their home. No matter where we are in the world, there’s no place like home and we have a very strong sense of pride about where we come from. We connect home with family and with a sense of place.

“For me, St Eugene’s GAA club is my home from home. It’s somewhere I can meet with friends, have a chat, a laugh and celebrate my culture and love of Gaelic games. There’s a very strong sense of community spirit here, something that I feel is a very important part of our bid for European Capital of Culture status in 2023.”

Encouraging the public to get behind the bid, Mayor McHugh says that securing the European Capital of Culture 2023 title would have significant social and economic benefits for the entire region.

“We want everyone to be part of this process and to tell us what they want to see from the bid. We’ll be inviting people to come along and be part of the conversation at a series of events taking place across both council areas – so make sure you have your say!”

Meanwhile, Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Nuala McAllister said: “We’ve had amazing feedback from all our public events and engagement during the summer, and the strongest theme that’s coming through by far is ‘@home’. 

“I definitely feel most at home with my partner Sam and our son Finn. And one of our favourite places to spend time together is Belfast Castle and the Cavehill. 

“To me, the notion of being at home isn’t about bricks and mortar – it’s very much an emotional connection. When we climb the Cavehill together and look out over that stunning view of Belfast Lough, it makes me feel very fortunate to live here and gives me a strong sense of hope for our shared future. The theme for my year as Mayor is Global Belfast, so our bid for European Capital of Culture is really important to me. I’m passionate about strengthening our connections right across the world and encouraging more and more visitors to discover the beauty and richness of our landscape and culture.”

The easiest way to share your @home snaps is to post on social media with the hashtag #home2023 or e-mail them to [email protected] 

‘@home’ could be anywhere from your sofa, a landscape, church, community or sports venue, a favourite park bench, to a dance -floor or the local pub!

The best images submitted will form part of an online exhibition at www.weare2023.eu/home2023.

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