A group set up to reduce the number of sectarian attacks at interfaces in Londonderry has been named as ‘Justice Champion’ by David Ford.
The Justice Minister singled out Foyle Interface Forum above 58 other groups for the way in which it benefits everyone in the city by providing alternatives to sectarian violence.
The forum is an umbrella organisation which combines the skill and expertise of the PSNI, Youth Justice, local politicians and community workers, Apprentice Boys of Derry and Housing Executive representatives.
Among those who attended the award ceremony was Graham Warke, a youth worker at the Cathedral Youth Club in the Fountain area.
He said: “We have been involved as an organisation for a few years now but it is always good to get recognition for the work you do.
“At the ceremony I did not think that we were going to get anything, so I was shocked when they called out the Foyle Interface Forum, but when I look at it and all the work done in the city by so many people, it is well deserved because the work the forum does helps keep people safe in the city.
“This year was the quietest year we have had in regards to the level of interface violence which shows we are on the right path.
“Every interface group throughout the city attends these meeting on a regular basis where we plan events to provide an alternative for high risk kids to rioting.
“During times when there is the potential for violence we are in close contact with each other in case trouble does erupt which no one wants.
“It is in everyone's interest that the streets of the city remain trouble free, no one want to see bad publicity going out about the place we live so it is good that the Minister of Justice is aware of the work we do.”
The Justice Award at Parliament Buildings by Minister Ford, who said: “The Justice in the Community Awards bring together people from across Northern Ireland, from different backgrounds and different walks of life, who share the same goal – making their local communities safer.
“We owe all the champions and everyone who gives up their time to make our communities safer a huge debt of gratitude.”