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£1.25million cross-community centre opens at south Belfast interface

on .

A new £1.25million centre designed to improve relationships and reduce interface tensions officially opened its doors in south Belfast today.

 

PEYE_IFI_CROMAC__0001Located on the junction of Ormeau Road and Donegall Pass, the Cromac Regeneration Initiative was established by three community groups with funding from the International Fund for Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department for Social Development.

 

Cromac Regeneration Initiative was developed and led by Donegall Pass Community Forum in partnerships with Markets Development Association and the Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group.

 

 

The facility supports a wide range of activities within and between communities to help reduce tensions and address common issues like drugs, unemployment and community safety.  The social enterprise also provides state of the art office space, the leasing of which supports outreach and development work in the area.

 

The International Fund for Ireland provided a total of £800,000 towards the development which complemented an award of £88,000 of revenue support.  David Graham, International Fund for Ireland Board Member, said:

 

"This is one of the most exciting projects in the south Belfast area in years. It is the result of a bold collaboration between three groups who want to remove prejudice, intolerance and sectarianism from our communities. In that sense, the Cromac Regeneration Initiative supports the Fund’s objectives of delivering sustainable, long-term positive impacts that can transform communities.

 

“The Fund is committed to the long-term task of breaking down traditional barriers and helping to build positive relations between communities to alleviate fears and tensions and encourage greater community cohesion.”

 

Speaking at the event Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, stressed the importance of addressing the needs of the community and in particular providing local facilities that promote social inclusion.  The Minister said: “I would like to commend the work of the three communities involved in this project, which is an excellent example of what can be achieved to tackle deprivation through a partnership approach.  The £225,000 Northern Ireland Executive funding, provided through my Department, has helped create an impressive facility where people from all local areas can now come to meet and work in a modern, state of the art environment.”

 

Gerard Rice, Chairman of Cromac Regeneration Initiative said:

“This facility is an asset to all three neighbouring communities and will enhance the work being carried out jointly through our Neighbourhood Action Plan. For the first time, residents of all ages from the three communities will have access to a neutral space that allows them to take part in activities that promote mutual gain.

 

“It opens up new opportunities to bring a wide cross section of both communities together and encourage greater interaction. I believe this facility will have a very positive impact for reconciliation and promoting greater cross-community links in South Belfast for years to come.

 

“I would like to acknowledge the support we’ve received from the International Fund for Ireland and Department Social Development for this project – the benefits of which will continue to be felt and seen in the local community for years to come.”

 

Cromac Regeneration Initiative is supported by Donegall Pass Community Forum, Markets Development Association, the Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group and the Ulster Community Investment Trust.

 

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Click here for press release