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Clones 'Peace of Mind' cross-border project launched

on .

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Local residents and community representatives came together to celebrate the official launch of a new cross border project ‘Peace of Mind’, administered by Clones Family Resource Centre.  Funded by the International Fund for Ireland, under its Peace Impact Programme, the project aims to empower people in the Clones area from both sides of the community and both sides of the border. 

The project will work with individuals, families and community groups from the local area and through facilitated discussion, events, training and networking will rebuild relationships across the border and across the community divide, promoting reconciliation, mutual understanding and learning between communities.

Oak Healthy Living Centre in Lisnaskea has joined with Clones FRC as a cross-border partner and will support the project through recruitment of participants and project delivery. The eighteen month project commenced in June 2016 and incorporates a broad range of activities that will be of interest to men, women and children of all ages.  The Peace of Mind programme includes:

  • Decade of Commemorations:  People will be challenged to face their prejudices (The talk on the Somme which took place after the launch event today is part of this element). This will involve a series of talks and trips.
  • Up-skilling women:  Women will be given accredited training opportunities to progress into employment and their confidence levels will have increase
  • Parenting Group:  The group members will mix with others from diverse community backgrounds that they normally would not meet or speak to. Already connections have been made and joint training has taken place between the Clones and Lisnaskea groups.
  • Children’s Camps:  Children will have the chance to meet other children from different faith schools that they normally would not mix with which will hopefully lead to the formation of friendships. Over 100 children from over 12 primary and 3 secondary schools have participated in this element of the project so far.
  • Older Women, Celebrating Difference:  Women will have a better understanding and respect for other faiths and cultures. Over 50 older women have already taken part in the element of the project. A number of these ladies have not engaged socially in the community for various reasons for many years. Bringing people out of isolation is a huge part of this project.
  • Men’s Shed Cross Border with Oak Healthy Living:  the men will learn new skills and begin conversations with other men that they have not previously met from different religious and cultural backgrounds. Already Clones and Lisnaskea men’s sheds have undergone basic IT training, picture framing skills, diversity awareness training and have travelled to Belfast together for the National Men’s Shed Conference.
  • Mediation / Conflict Resolution:  The participants will benefit from accredited training to give them a new skill set which can be used to great advantage in their local border community
  • Cross Border Mental Health Programme with Oak Healthy Living:  Participants will be trained in new skills and understanding of mental health which will be of great benefit locally.  Change in attitudes to those suffering from mental health issues. The Open Mic events that are being run add a social element to the programme and provide an event that crosses all generations, abilities and communities.

Speaking at the launch which was held in the Cassandra Hand Centre, Clones, Allen McAdam, IFI Board member, said that the Fund is committed to delivering real and positive transformation in communities through the Peace Impact Programme and we are delighted to support this wide-ranging cross border project.  “Members of the board and staff of Clones FRC come from both sides of the community and have worked on IFI and Peace funded projects in the past, both in Clones and other areas.  They will bring their communities and their experience to this project, maximising the impact of the cross-community dimensions and reconciliation work.

This project aims to rebuild the relationships and natural linkages between organisations, groups and families in the Clones area and its environs, which were damaged during “the Troubles”. I have no doubt that this project will leave a lasting positive legacy for the people in Clones and its environs.  I wish everyone involved in the project continued success”.

Mr Peter McAleer, Chair of Clones FRC said the Peace of Mind project addresses reconciliation by bringing both sides of the community together through common interests and brings communities together to help them move forward together to heal on-going divisions to the benefit of those living in the local area and its natural hinterland. As many of you will know, the project commenced last June and we have already successfully undertaken a number of activities which I am pleased to say attracted strong participation. On behalf of Clones FRC and our community, I would like to thank the International Fund for Ireland most sincerely for its funding support, without which, we could not have undertaken this project”.

Following the formal launch of the Peace of Mind project, noted historian Dr. Johnston McMasters delivered an enlightening lecture on ‘The Somme in Global Context’, part of the Decade of Commemoration series of talks and discussions.