THE International Fund for Ireland today confirmed £2.6m/€3.1m of financial assistance that will be shared between 18 community projects in Northern Ireland and the Southern border counties.
The funding, approved at the organisation’s recent Board Meeting in County Antrim, includes £1.5m/€1.7m for nine good relations projects that will assist young people to take better control of their lives and overcome adversity.
Supported through the Fund’s Personal Youth Development Programme, these projects will provide opportunities to build resilience and self-confidence and improve education and employment prospects.
The remaining funding will support nine projects, delivered through the Peace Impact Programme (PIP), that will address difficult issues linked to the legacy of conflict and engage with people who are at risk attack or recruitment by armed groups.
£131,662/€157,994 to Black Mountain Shared Space Project to deliver a 24-month community transformation project within the interface areas of Upper Springfield and Highfield in West Belfast. This project will build on two previous projects and continue to engage with residents that have not been involved in peace building and community activism before, with a particular focus on the inclusion of women.
£97,481/€116,977 to Shankill Women’s Centre for a 12-month extension of community engagement work with both individual women and women’s groups in the Greater Shankill area and to develop cross-community links with women’s groups in the nearby areas of Clonard and Lower Falls.
Personal Youth Development Programme– relatively new for the Fund. It provides opportunities to build resilience in young ppl and improve education and employability.
£118,319/€141,983 to Workforce Training Services, Belfast for The Pathway Programme: Empowering Young People. This 18-month cross-community initiative will engage 20 young people aged 14-16 years from West Belfast and Greater Shankill in a range of training and learning designed to build confidence, raise self-esteem and develop skills. The project will support participants to form realistic and achievable goals for their future careers and to encourage them to play an active role in their local community.
Commenting on the announcement Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said:
“Despite political turbulence, community groups are continuing to take risks and develop bold and ambitious solutions to sensitive issues.
“Ground-breaking projects, like the 18 receiving support today, are giving young people dynamic new options that reduce the potential for sectarianism and the influence of armed groups.
“Communities have grown stronger and more stable as a result.
“The Fund is acutely aware of the impact that political uncertainty has on society, particularly in areas that have yet to realise a direct dividend from the Peace Process.
“Our assistance is enabling many communities to remain resilient to polarisation, but there must be a stronger consolidation of the community and political journeys.
“It is vital that community ambition is met by equal political will if a sustainable Peace Process is to be realised.”
The Chairman took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund – the European Union and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand – for their support.
The latest funding package includes awards to 11 new projects including:
- £157,588/€189,106 to Border Arts 2000, Castlederg for ‘Level Up for Work’, a two-year cross-community project that will engage 18 young people from the Castlederg, Newtownstewart and Victoria Bridge areas of West Tyrone in personal development and training activities.
- £100,273/€120,328 to The Carson Project, Ballymena for a one-year youth project that will assist people who face a range of negative issues and pressures that have left them disengaged from society, marginalised and excluded from education, employment and training.
- £154,844/€186,559 to Donegal Sports Partnership for a two-year cross-border, cross-community leadership training initiative that will engage 45 people aged 18 or over in County Donegal and the Waterside area of Londonderry-Derry.
Further information about all the beneficiaries from the International Fund for Ireland’s latest funding package is available at www.internationalfundforireland.com