Belfast Telegraph

Peace building project gets funding windfall

A North Down Borough Council-led consortium has secured almost £200,000 of PEACE III funding for the delivery of a peace-building project in Holywood.

The initiative will aid the process of strengthening effective decision-making, whilst addressing the issues of sectarianism and racism.

Work has already begun on the new project that will see the development of a Shared Spaces and Services Working Group and the delivery of a programme of projects and events that will build relationships and enhance collaboration across the community. The project will run until December 2010 with the possibility of extension into 2011.

The consortium, brought together to develop and deliver the project, involves community and voluntary groups, schools, statutory organisations, private sector partners and churches.

Commenting on the funding announcement, Deputy Mayor of North Down Alderman Gordon Dunne said: “This is obviously tremendous news for Holywood and I would like to commend the many different groups who came together to develop this innovative project and who will be working hard to take the various elements forward over the next 10 months.

“The project will look realistically not only at what services communities need, but about where they should be located and how their location can contribute to a more integrated, open and connected society. The associated programme of activities will help to support participation in the planning process while delivering practical projects ‘on the ground’ such as multi-cultural youth inclusion project, history and film project and even a hip-hop dance project.

“One very significant outcome of the project will be the development of a new children’s play area at Redburn Community Centre. Following consultation with around 500 local families, we know that this is a much-needed facility and very much look forward to advancing it.

“I think this project is a great example of what can be achieved when various groups within the community come together to develop and share a vision for the future of their area. We all look forward to seeing the project progress over the coming months.”

North Down Borough Council’s community services unit is the lead partner responsible for the project in partnership with the council’s good relations section.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive will assist with land transfer issues in relation to the proposed playground.

The Shared Spaces and Services Working Group will be made up of members of the existing consortium and will meet at least every quarter. Others will be invited to join as work progresses to ensure that the process is as inclusive as possible.

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