THE International Fund for Ireland has confirmed financial assistance worth more than half a million pounds/euro (£511,056/€613,301) for six community groups in Northern Ireland and one in County Leitrim.
The funding, approved at the organisation’s recent Board meeting in Bushmills, County Antrim, will go towards a range of rural and urban initiatives designed to support community-led peace building and reconciliation efforts.
The seven projects are supported through the Fund’s Peace Impact Programme (PIP), which provides groups with the means to develop innovative solutions to sensitive and divisive issues, including engagement with young people who are vulnerable to recruitment or attack by paramilitaries.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said:
“The Fund is pleased to offer financial assistance to these projects and we commend them for their work in bringing stability to difficult environments. Many of these groups are making the first significant efforts to resolve complex community issues and tensions.
“The reality is that hard divisions still remain in our society and we risk losing everything if communities and politicians cannot agree to tackle them together. In difficult times, the Fund is providing critical support aimed at calming the pressures at ground level and creating a foundation for lasting change.”
He added: “The unique nature and credibility of the Fund means we can extend ourselves through projects like these and in ways that other funders and government bodies simply cannot. We are grateful for the support of our international donors who endorse our careful efforts to address these sensitive issues.”
The Peace Impact Programme is a central part of the Fund’s Strategic Framework for Action 2012-2015 and has awarded more than £2,185,000/€2,622,000 to 31 projects across northern Ireland and the southern border counties of Ireland since commencing last year.
The latest funding package includes:
• £56,900/€68,280 to the Stoneyford Community Association (SCA) towards an 18-month programme that builds community cohesion and good relations in the Killultagh ward of Lisburn.
• £102,855/€123,426 to Ards Development Bureau and Community Network (ADBCN) for a 21-month project that will operate in partnership with four local outreach centres in Newtownards, County Down.
• £55,533/€66,639 to Upper Springfield Development Company (USDC) based in the Upper Springfield area of West Belfast for a 16-month youth engagement project working in partnership with three residents groups: Whiterock /Westrock Residents, Sliabh Dubh Residents, Moyard and Springfield Park Residents.
• £101,759/€122,110 to a three-way partnership involving Springboard Opportunities Limited Carrick Hill Residents Association and Lagan Village Youth & Community Group. Operating in Carrick Hill and the Lower Ravenhill areas, the “Community and Youth Together” Programme is an intergenerational cross-community project involving two communities that have experienced inter-communal violence and difficulty in recent times.
• £67,974/€81,568 to Grace Women’s Group, Ardoyne (GWGA) to run a 17-month cross-community project in the interface areas of Ardoyne and Glenbyrn in North Belfast.
• £50,690/€60,828 to the Forkhill and District Development Association Ltd (FADDA) and Forkhill Women’s Group (FWG) for an 18-month cross-community, peace building and community engagement programme in South Armagh.
• £75,345/€90,450 to Leitrim County Council for a yearlong programme of accredited training and development work with young people in Ballinamore, Kinlough and Manorhamilton.
Since it was established in 1986 the Fund has committed £713m/€895m to a range of interventions throughout the island of Ireland. The interventions have all focused on helping Unionists and Nationalists to learn, work and live together as part of a peaceful and shared future.
To find out more about the International Fund for Ireland visit: www.internationalfundforireland.com