Northern Ireland news

Film tells story of how community in east Belfast responded to coronavirus pandemic

The film looks at how the community in east Belfast came together during the pandemic. Picture by Mal McCann

A FILM has been created to show how the community in east Belfast responded to the pandemic.

Uplifting stories of how people pulled together and businesses diversified are told in East Belfast - Our Story 2020.

The film has been created by Eastside Awards, which recognises "all that is good about East Belfast".

As its annual awards ceremony could not take place in its usual format this year, organisers wanted to hear how the community helped one another and how businesses innovated.

They created a film to reflect the stories, which features Belfast actor Dan Gordon and includes interviews with people who sprung into action.

Rev Mervyn Gibson, who is part of the East Belfast Community Development Agency, tells of the efforts of church ministers, politicians and community workers to co-ordinate help.

"The idea was to make sure that nobody fell through the cracks," he said.

He tells of how a helpline was established and 40,000 leaflets delivered providing information to people about where they could get help.

The film also features interviews with representatives of Glentoran Football Club, East Belfast GAA and people who provided music, food and medical advice.

Jonathan McAlpin from the Eastside Awards Committee said the " people of east Belfast have risen to the challenge set by the organisers of the Eastside Awards and told their stories of navigating their way through the pandemic".

"For the past five years we have worked hard to build a reputation for recognising all that is good about east Belfast with the annual Eastside Awards and this year we have produced a film which recounts how the people of east Belfast have responded to the pandemic," he said.

"East Belfast - Our Story 2020’ turns the spotlight on the local community, an emotionally charged film showcasing people who have made a real difference. It highlights contributions made to the economic, social and community development of the area."

Michelle Hatfield from George Best Belfast City Airport, which supports the committee, said the film "recognises those who have gone above and beyond for the benefit of the community".

"Once again Belfast City Airport is a very proud partner of the Eastside Awards and the creation of ‘East Belfast – Our Story 2020’ serves as a perfect reminder of the power of hope and achievement within our local community," she said.

To view the film, please visit www.eastsideawards.org.

Rev Mervyn Gibson features in the film

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