Colleagues from The Executive Office’s Good Relations and T:BUC Division attended an event in Belfast Castle to celebrate the achievements of organisations that improve relations between communities in North Belfast.
The North Belfast Strategic Good Relations Programme (NBSGRP) is managed by the Community Relations Council (CRC) in partnership with TEO.
It’s delivered on the ground by contract holders with the objective of improving community relations in the North Belfast area and contributing to the key aims of the Together: Building a United Community Strategy.
Over 52 projects were delivered in 2018-19, resulting in a significant number of positive good relations outcomes.
The event in Belfast Castle showcased many of these projects, with presentations by a number of programme representatives and participants, allowing attendees to hear first-hand how the Programme has had a positive impact on the lives of those involved.
Some of the projects celebrated include:
- The North Belfast Lantern Parade – the largest annual, non-denominational parade in the city delivered by the Ashton Community Trust. The parade attracts hundreds of participants and spectators from all traditions and has become a permanent fixture in the calendar for many residents.
- Girdwood Hub youth drop-in centre – delivered by Cliftonville Community Regeneration Forum working with youth in the Cliftonville / Lower Old Park / Lower Shankill areas to improve community cohesion and support youth engagement. The programme seeks to signpost educational and employment opportunities for young people, and participants of the programme have gone on to work in the Hub itself in various capacities.
- North Belfast Women’s Network – delivered by Shankill Women’s Centre. The Network supports women from all areas of North Belfast in all aspects of their lives. They provide counselling, mental health awareness sessions, employability classes – all focusing on bringing participants from all traditions together to discuss shared issues and work toward positive outcomes.
The event also included an award for the most innovative project delivered in 2018/19. The award was made in honour of Joe McGouran, a TEO official who had worked for many years on the Programme and who sadly passed away last year.
The award was won by the Cliftonville Community Regeneration Programme for their work in building peace and relationships in the area.
Wishing all of the contract holders every success in the future, Chris Gardner, TEO’s Head of Good Relations Outcomes and CRC Sponsorship Branch, said:
The event was a great showcase of the talent and dedication of community and voluntary sector staff who work on the Programme and drive the positive good relations outcomes we have seen in 2018/19.
It also shows how TEO and CRC can work together in partnership to add value to Programmes like this, and help build the united, shared and reconciled community here that we want to live in.”