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International Fund announces £4 (€6) million to promote integration and peace building

Published on:  03 Jul 2007

The International Fund for Ireland has announced a further £4 million (€6 million) for programmes to promote integration and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties.

The initiatives include a new Shared Future Neighbourhood Programme which aims to support the development of integrated housing in Northern Ireland. Working with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and other partners in the voluntary and statutory sector, the Programme aims to build on the successful launch of the integrated Carran Crescent Scheme in Enniskillen, establishing support for communities who wish to establish their own areas as Shared Future Neighbourhoods.

Support available to local communities through the Programme will include training for community workers to become ‘champions’ of shared housing, working to promote and develop it in their own areas. It is hoped that the Programme will result in up to 30 Shared Future Neighbourhoods being created in the next three years. The Fund’s total investment in the Programme is £698,000
(€ 1,019,080).

In addition the Fund has launched a £550,000 (€803,000) Integrating Community Organisations programme. This will offer community organisations a chance to mix on both a cross community and a cross border basis, developing mutual respect and confidence, ultimately leading to greater integration between organisations of different backgrounds and experiences. The Programme will feature Good Relations and Diversity training, networking, study groups as well as supporting organisations who want to develop partnerships or joint projects.

In addition, the Fund has announced £1.6m (€2.34m) of support for a range of initiatives through its Community Bridges Programme. This includes a funding of over £300,000 (€438,000) for the Sesame Workshop, which will produce up to twenty 15 minute episodes of a Northern Ireland version of Sesame Street, addressing issues of conflict, discrimination, prejudice and sectarianism, supported by educational materials and a website.

Through its Community Based Economic and Social Regeneration Programme, the Fund has also extended its support for a pilot programme designed to maximise community use of rural halls on a cross community basis. Following the initial success of this programme, the Fund is providing a further £249,744 (€364,626) to extend this activity.

Speaking at the International Fund for Ireland’s Board meeting in Londonderry last week, Fund Chairman Denis Rooney said: “This latest funding announcement is a clear demonstration of the Fund’s commitment to supporting innovative, ground breaking projects which can potentially deliver real and lasting change in the way in which we live in Northern Ireland and the border counties.

“All of the initiatives we have agreed to support today are clearly focused on building a sustainable and lasting peace in our society, by which I mean not just the absence of violence or paramilitary activity but a genuine end to the fear, prejudice and sectarianism that have lead to segregated communities. We regard all of these projects as meaningful steps on the road to ensuring that this generation and the next can live, work and learn together.”

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