THE International Fund for Ireland has pledged £492,654 to support six groups across Northern Ireland and continue outreach work with marginalised communities.  

The Hubb will receive £72,664 through the IFI’s Peace Impact Programme and TASCIT will have £174,461 support through the Peace Walls Programme.

This funding will help sustain engagement efforts across local communities, develop capacity and ensure support for all throughout the current health crisis and beyond.

The package was announced at a recent Board meeting and will be distributed across the Fund’s three core programmes, which all work with marginalised communities who have not previously or have only partially participated in peace and reconciliation activity.

The Peace Impact Programme operates in areas with high levels of socio economic and social deprivation with a particular emphasis on engaging with disaffected youths who are more vulnerable to paramilitary recruitment.

The unique Personal Youth Development Programme targets the most at risk 16-25 year olds who come from a range of complex backgrounds.

The Peace Walls Programme works on a range of confidence and relationship building interventions within and between interface communities to help residents reach a position where they feel it is safe and appropriate to proceed with Peace Wall removal.

IFI Chairperson, Paddy Harte commented on the funding: “The IFI’s ongoing commitment to peace and reconciliation work comes at a time when many communities are feeling more vulnerable than ever, due to the current coronavirus pandemic. 

“The journey towards a peaceful society takes many forms and this funding is essential to help boost community spirit and leadership at an extremely challenging time.

“We have an opportunity to unite and come together now at a time of immense societal need. Once we emerge from the current challenges, there are a number of key areas that must be addressed for lasting peace.

Jim Crothers from the Hubb said: “This can be a daunting time for members in our community, with the support from the IFI, we can continue to ensure residents stay connected and engaged in the process through these challenging times.”

 “We are working tirelessly to help the most vulnerable in society. To expand our resources and reach, we partnered with other community groups in the North Belfast area to deliver emergency support packages, collect prescriptions and deliver groceries to their doorstep. More recently, we launched a new weekly service that has seen 10,000 food boxes delivered to those in need and have kept the community centre open to provide advice and support to the unemployed.”

Rab McCallum from TASCIT says: “There has been an overwhelming response of community volunteers from our project who have helped form a much-needed support network for those most vulnerable in society. The IFI funding will allow us to continue to plan ahead for future projects that we hope to commence when restrictions are lifted.”

The IFI is committed to delivering sensitive interventions in communities where other organisations cannot and have reassured all projects of their support throughout this period.

Mr Harte added: “The Fund is more relevant than ever. We are progressing towards the next phase of important work including the fallout from Brexit, particularly in border areas, where there will need to be significant support mechanisms in place for communities.”

“These are uncertain and worrying times but I am greatly encouraged by the strength of community spirit and leadership demonstrated at the moment.”

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 and New Zealand – for their support.

The following projects have been awarded funding:

Peace Impact Programme (PIP)
Regenerate– Portadown, Co Armagh£85,342
The Hubb– North Belfast, Co Antrim£72,664
Factory Community Forum– Larne, Co Antrim£37,472
Peace Walls Programme (PWP)
TASCIT- North Belfast, Co Antrim£174,461      
Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP) 
Creggan Enterprises Ltd– Londonderry/ Derry£38,672
Have Your Tomorrows (HURT) Londonderry/ Derry£84,043

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