Present: Eamonn McCartan (Chair), Frances McCandless, Malachi O'Doherty, Michael Wardlow, Robin Wilson.
In attendance: Ray Mullan, Maurna Crozier, Jacqueline Irwin, Linda Norney (Sec.).
Apologies: Mark McCann, Damien McIlroy, Duncan Morrow.
1. The Minutes of the previous meeting, 10 December 2003, were agreed without amendment.
2. Matters Arising:
The Chair asked that in future the Minutes should be presented
· with each section and paragraph numbered
· with action points detailed
· with proposals firmly outlined
· with all grant applications dated and referenced.
The continued absences of committee members Damien McIlroy and Mark McCann were noted. Mark McCann had offered to resign from the committee due to work pressure at City Hall.
Action point: RM agreed to approach both about their committee membership.
3. Publications and Media Grant Schemes
The committee were presented with a financial year end update on applications to and payments from the Publications and Media grant schemes. The printed overview was distributed to members and further details offered on each individual application.
The committee were informed that the likely expenditure in total under both schemes by the end of the financial year would be approximately £70,000. This left a shortfall of £20,000. There was a request from one of the Council's other grant schemes (Core-funding) to use this shortfall to support a core-funding grant application relating to the production of a media resource. This would allow the £20,000 to continue to be used for the purpose for which it was allocated.
Action point: It was agreed to refer this matter to the Chief Executive and the Director of Finance for decision.
Action point: It was agreed that quarterly statements of applications received and expenditure made under the Publications and Media grant schemes would be presented to the committee.
4. Communications Strategy
The Committee agreed that Phase I of the communications strategy would be to agree on the Key Messages and the development of the language and imagery which will convey these most effectively to a range of target audiences including the general public.
The committee considered a staff paper suggesting the outline Key Messages, based on an earlier staff discussion. The committee felt that the Messages needed to be more Northern Ireland specific and generally needed to be re-worked. It was suggested that three types of message were needed:
A Positive Message- applauding the work that had already been done and encouraging people to take some risks for peace. This should stress the role every individual has to play in community relations work.
A Hard/Uncomfortable/Realistic Message- which deals with the sceptical, the apathetic, the fatalistic and those in denial. This should offer alternatives to the sectarian world we live in.
A Visionary Message of Optimism- demonstrating that success is achievable.
It would be important to test the Key Messages on target audiences.
Action Point: RM would present the committee with a revised set of proposals for developing and implementing the Key Messages, taking into consideration the suggestions made by the committee.
5. Community Relations Week
Details of the plans for CRC's Community Relations Week, beginning on 2 April, were outlined. This was to be an important means of attracting media interest in and raising public awareness of community relations, and would help keep alive the public focus on the Shared Future debate. Community Relations Week would feed into the general work of raising the Council's public profile throughout the year.
Action point: RM would report on the media interest attracted.