Derry City & Strabane - First Citizens have a good yarn 




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First Citizens have a good yarn

06 October 2017

On World Smile Day, Friday 6 October, the First Citizens of Belfast and Derry and Strabane have been sharing a yarn today about what makes people happy and what home means to them in the lead up to their bid for European Capital of Culture 2023.

As part of the engagement for the bid, over 13,000 conversations have taken place to date, and the key themes emerging are informing the themes of the bid – the central one being @home.

Simple pleasures feature strongly in the feedback, with spending time with friends, family and pets topping the charts – along with enjoying a cup of tea and a chat and enjoying sports and cultural activities.  Family and friends also feature strongly in what home means to people, as well as feelings of warmth, stability and sanctuary, being understood and accepted.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Maolíosa McHugh said: “From this feedback, it’s pretty clear that people here are a happy bunch – so it’s no surprise that we’ve earned a reputation for being such a welcoming place. Seeing the enthusiasm from people living here makes us even more determined to bring the European Capital of Culture 2023 title home so that we can encourage even more people to visit, explore and discover our cultural experiences – and share in the societal and economic benefits that will arise."

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Nuala McAllister, said: “It’s been great to spend time with Maolíosa today, looking at the feedback that we’ve had to our questions ‘What makes you happy?’ and ‘Where do you feel at home?’ as we finalise our bid content. You can count on the Belfast humour to give you a good laugh – and someone actually said a big curry chip!

“On a more serious note, we’re both delighted with how many people have engaged with us on the bid to date – and as we get closer to the bid submission on 27 October, we’re looking forward to even more people pledging their support and getting involved with the conversation.”

World Smile Day® is celebrated on the first Friday in October. Artist and creator of the smiley face, Harvey Ball declared World Smile Day in 1999. He thought that all of us should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world.

For further information on Belfast City and Derry City and Strabane District Councils’ European Capital of Culture bid and to pledge your support, visit You can also join in the #WeAre2023 conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.