Peace Wall Removal
Community Celebrates Peace Wall Removal
Residents at a North Belfast interface hold a celebration event to mark a new era after the removal of a 30 year old Peace Wall.
A strategy for the International Fund for Ireland 2016-2020
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The Peace Impact programme is delivering sensitive interventions in communities that have not previously, or have only partially, participated in peace building and reconciliation activities.
The Peace Walls Programme focuses on helping interface communities to bring about the conditions that can allow for the removal of Peace Walls. Click here to read more.
The latest edition of our newsletter looks at commmunities taking risks for peace.
The Time2Choose Project, managed by the Rosemount Resource Centre in Londonderry/Derry, was awarded financial assistance of £188,926 from the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Impact Programme.
The project commenced in August 2013, was officially launched in October 2013 and ends in August 2015. The project was initiated in response to calls for support from people – including children as young as 14 – facing intimidation and threats of violent attack.
Experienced staff and volunteers deliver the project, which offers support and personal development opportunities for individuals, and their families, at risk of attack from paramilitary groups and others. The project also aims to develop community-based solutions to a wide range of contentious local issues, including community policing and anti-social behaviour.
In its first three months, Time2Choose directly intervened in cases involving 60 young people who were under threat from armed groups. Some 90% of these cases were resolved through mediation. For the remaining 10%, Time2Choose was successful in having death threats lifted while mediation continues. Monina O’Prey of Community Foundation NI says: “The outreach programme offers training, employment skills, personal development and other choices to vulnerable young people and their siblings. Some notable individual success stories already exist.
“In one case, a young woman involved in drug taking/dealing turned her life around through access to counselling, training and support. She stopped dealing, dealt with her addiction, stopped involvement in anti-social activity and has gained employment (two part time jobs). She accepted responsibility for her past and made positive choices - she no longer feels vulnerable, worthless and suicidal.”
She adds: “The beneficiaries of Time2Choose are individual young people, their family members, and the wider community. It provides alternatives to violence, crime and addiction and seeks to save lives while building futures based on inclusion and hope. Time2Choose will engage with statutory agencies to share the learning with a view to developing services that can be supported directly by them in the future.
“The high level and range of project activity to date indicates the need for intervention in communities still blighted by the conflict, on-going violence and community tensions. Time2Choose will undoubtedly save lives and connect vulnerable young people and their families to new opportunities and choices. It will enable the wider community the opportunity to address contentious issues through dialogue.”
Fáilte Abhaile – ‘Welcome Home’ is a Dundalk based support group for political ex-prisoners, displaced people and their families, predominantly located in areas of high social deprivation and unemployment in County Louth including Muirhevnamor and Cox’s Demesne, Dundalk. This is a constituency of over 2,000 people in County Louth.
The Fund provided financial assistance under the Peace Impact Programme towards the cost of running practical
training and up-skilling courses based around identified employability needs. This nine month project addresses
the problems of unemployment and increasing employability in that it focuses on tackling social exclusion amongst marginalised people residing in designated disadvantaged urban areas in County Louth.
It empowers them and gives them the confidence, skills and knowledge as individuals to move forward, become self-reliant and grasp the opportunities peace has brought. It also gives them the skills necessary to find solutions to achieve public good and thereby have a distinct and valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable, peaceful and socially inclusive society.
The project has a strong education/ economic/employment focus aiming to provide practical skills in areas that
have been identified by members of the group that are relevant to their needs but which may be financially out of reach of individuals and that do not duplicate other statutory training courses.
Examples of training courses to date include Train the Trainer, European Computer Driving Licence ECDL for 16 community workers, official certification for gas workers and other job specific accredited training courses. These included psychology, social studies, health and social care and environmental.
Group training in peace building is also provided to build capacity amongst participants to engage in conflict transformation and to engage with a broad and diverse range of opinion and background. Fáilte Abhaile adopt an inclusive approach and participation in courses is open to non-members; this allows for increased interaction between this community and the wider local community to help break down barriers and build increasing cooperation and mutual understanding.
Half way through the project, over 50 participants, with an even gender split, have received training and gained skills to help increase their prospects of finding employment or remaining in employment. The proposed outputs set down for the project, of 70 people achieving at least one accreditation, will be exceeded by some distance when planned training and associated accreditation is completed.
Kevin Mulgrew, Project co-ordinator says that: “The International Fund for Ireland’s support for this project has had a real and meaningful impact in areas of high social deprivation and unemployment in County Louth. It has enabled a significant number of individuals to pursue academic and vocational education/training which will open up new opportunities or stabilise their present employment status. A major aspect of this funding is the ability to adapt to meet new and emerging needs. Already we have positive outcomes in terms of employment and retention in employment in addition to people being able to participate in academic and vocational training.”