Local residents and community representatives from the Clones area and surrounding cross border areas in Co Fermanagh gathered in the Ulster Canal Stores this evening for the launch of “Peace of Mind”, a booklet celebrating the successes of the cross-border, cross-community project. Led by the Clones Family Resource Centre and funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) under its Peace Impact Programme, the project, which began in 2016 and is nearing conclusion, involved a range of initiatives to foster greater understanding and acceptance of diversity between communities, and build employment skills.
The project worked with individuals, families and community groups from the local area. Through facilitated discussion, events, training and networking it sought to rebuild relationships across the border and across the community divide, by promoting reconciliation, mutual understanding and learning between communities. Since it began in 2016, its many notable successes have included:
The Decade of Commemorations - where people were challenged to face their prejudices, with core aspects of the past explored through discussions, cultural events and trips;
Dream Dare Do - provided networking and upskilling opportunities for women, which has led to the establishment of the Clones Hens’ Shed;
Different Keys – the establishment of this 40-strong cross-border, cross-community inter-generational choir which has already performed at a range of events within the area;
Positive Mental Health Conference – this event was one of a number of mental health initiatives undertaken in partnership with the Oak Healthy Living Centre in Lisnaskea;
Parenting programmes – The Peace of Mind project also supported Clones Baby & Toddler Group and the Clones Parenting Group through upskilling and capacity development initiatives;
Mediation /Conflict Resolution – seven people have been trained as accredited mediators and are now volunteering within the local border community;
Launching the booklet, Allen McAdam, International Fund for Ireland Board Member congratulated the community on the success of the Peace of Mind project. “The story of Clones and the surrounding hinterland, an area that has been severely disadvantaged socially and economically over many decades, is all too familiar across the border region. Now, thanks to the cross-border, cross community approach taken to addressing the issues and challenges it faced, and continues to face, this town and the surrounding area is changing its own narrative.
“As this booklet highlights, the story of Clones today is one of positivity, a community that is being transformed socially and economically. Clones is demonstrating what can be achieved through collaborative efforts that empower individuals and help build sustainable relationships on a cross community, cross border level. We are delighted to have supported this wide-ranging project,” he said.
The IFI committed almost €350,000 in funds to the project through its Peace Impact Programme, which is designed to support and deliver real and positive community transformation in communities that have not previously, or only partially, participated in peace building and reconciliation activities. Jim Flanagan, Chairman of the Clones Family Resource Centre, which led the project, thanked the IFI for their funding. “Without their financial support, we could not have undertaken this project, which leaves behind a rich legacy of community engagement, and a willingness to support and promote positivity. Peace of Mind has changed viewpoints and created positive pathways, and instilled in participants the courage and capacity to take on new roles.”
The evening included a range of musical performances reflecting the many traditions within the community, as well as a selection of songs from the Different Keys Choir.
A limited number of copies of the commemorative booklet are available through the Clones Family Resource Centre.
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.
International Fund for Ireland
28-32 Alfred St.
+44 (0)28 9031 2884