Funding boost for Lifford and Castlederg groups

Thursday, 10 August 2017

TWO local community groups have been named as recipients of funding in a multi-million pound package unveiled by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).

The Fund confirmed 2.6m of financial assistance that will be shared between 18 community projects in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties.

The funding, approved at the organisation's recent board meeting in County Antrim, includes 1.5m for nine good relations projects that will assist young people to take better control of their lives and overcome adversity.

Supported through the Fund's Personal Youth Development Programme, these projects will provide opportunities to build resilience and self-confidence and improve education and employment prospects.

The remaining funding will support nine projects, delivered through the Peace Impact Programme (PIP), that will address difficult issues linked to the legacy of conflict and engage with people who are at risk attack or recruitment by armed groups.

Locally, 157,588 has been awarded to Border Arts 2000, Castlederg for 'Level Up for Work', a 24-month cross-community project that will engage 18 young people from the Castlederg, Newtownstewart and Victoria Bridge areas of West Tyrone in personal development and training activities.

"The project will promote good relations and provide young people with the necessary requirements to get back into employment, education or training," a spokesperson explained.

Elsewhere, 140,076 has been allocated to the Lifford/Clonleigh Resource Centre to extend a cross-border and cross-community project for 18 months.

This will allow the project to expand its work into Convoy and Glenfin in Counties Donegal and Tyrone. The community capacity building project promotes dialogue between different communities and will engage 50 men over the age of 25 who have not previously participated in community development and peace building activities.

Commenting on the announcement Dr Adrian Johnston, chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said:

"Despite political turbulence, community groups are continuing to take risks and develop bold and ambitious solutions to sensitive issues.


"Ground-breaking projects, like the 18 receiving support today, are giving young people dynamic new options that reduce the potential for sectarianism and the influence of armed groups. Communities have grown stronger and more stable as a result.

"The Fund is acutely aware of the impact that political uncertainty has on society, particularly in areas that have yet to realise a direct dividend from the Peace Process.

"Our assistance is enabling many communities to remain resilient to polarisation, but there must be a stronger consolidation of the community and political journeys. It is vital that community ambition is met by equal political will if a sustainable Peace Process is to be realised."

The chairman took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund - the European Union and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - for their support.

The IFI is an independent, international organisation established by the Irish and British Governments in 1986. The Fund's main objectives are to promote economic and social advance and encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between Unionists and Nationalists throughout Ireland.

Since its inception, the Fund has committed more than 719m/904m EUROto a wide variety of projects in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties of Ireland.

Developing and funding initiatives that tackle segregation and promote integration to build a lasting peace in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties is a key priority for the Fund.


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