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Pictured left to right: Stewart McClean, Project co-ordinator, Newtowncunningham Community Outreach Project welcomes Dr. Adrian Johnston, (left), Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland to Newtown Orange Hall on Saturday for the launch of the project, with Mary Moy, Programme Manager, International Fund for Ireland and Maurice Healy, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.

Newtowncunningham Community Outreach Project launched

Published on:  10 Dec 2018

Local community representatives came together to celebrate the official launch of the Newtowncunningham Community Outreach Project, a new two-year cross-border, cross-community project based in the newly constructed Orange Hall, Newtowncunningham.  

Funded by the International Fund for Ireland under its Peace Impact Programme, the outreach project will use the Orange Hall as a hub of training, education and skills development for all members of the community aimed at building an inclusive model of engagement between traditions and minority communities.  The project is unique in its approach because it will be driven by a minority within a minority that had traditionally suffered from a confidence deficit with regard to opening up or reaching out.  

The project will consist of three main strands:

  • Core group work which will focus on working with up to 100 local people per year, providing them with accredited training and employability skills programmes such as personal development, IT and presentation skills.
  • Cultural and educational activities will focus on opening up dialogue about shared history and traditions as well as providing learning opportunities for schoolchildren and adults.
  • Social and recreational activities aimed at making the hall a community asset where people can enjoy various social and educational benefits, building on the cross-community, cross-border dimension.

The schedule of social and recreational activities planned are wide-ranging and there is something to suit all interests and all age groups, from computer coding, accordion music lessons to cooking classes, Spanish Beginners Course and Men’s Shed Broken Clinic/Old Appliances Recycling.

Speaking at the launch of the project, Dr. Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), said the Fund is committed to delivering real and positive transformation in communities through the Peace Impact Programme.  “This project places an emphasis on opening up new opportunities for participants to engage in dialogue, cultural exploration, training, skills  acquisition, education and social economy.  The conflict and isolation caused by the border have had multiple negative impacts on the lives of people in East Donegal.  More than that, however, inherited sectarianism has closed doors, crippled the self-confidence of minorities, and poisoned perceptions. This project offers a window of opportunity to rebuild some of the relationships shattered by the conflict and I have no doubt will leave a lasting positive legacy for the participants themselves and for their wider communities.  I wish everyone involved in the project success in the years ahead”.    

Dr Johnston 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.

Stewart McClean, Project Co-ordinator said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project. As a community over the last years we have suffered in silence because of the wider picture. Through this opportunity we as the minority are reaching out to wider community to break down barriers that have arisen and to provide additional skills to those who most need it.  On behalf of everyone involved in this project, I would like to thank the IFI  for their funding support, without which this project would not have been possible to begin with”.

For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.

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