Funding local peacebuilding at grassroots – CRC Core Fund launch 2021-22

23 June 2021

A rainbow | NICRC

The Community Relations Council (CRC) has funded 29 local peacebuilding groups through its 2021-22 Core Funding Scheme. 

This represents an investment of over £1.2 million aimed at a grassroots level with groups dedicated to good community relations across Northern Ireland.  

The Core Funding Scheme provides support for organisations which are considered of strategic importance in promoting community relations work across the entire region. 

Despite the complications and difficulties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, CRC remains, as ever, committed to supporting organisations to deliver projects within communities that are most in need. 

Martin McDonald MBE, Chair of CRC, said: 

“Each year, the Community Relations Council is committed to funding peacebuilding throughout Northern Ireland. The CRC Core Fund has made an investment of over £1.2 million in 29 groups for 2021-22. We have endeavoured to focus this investment at a grassroots level to help ensure it goes where it is needed most. 

“CRC is proud to acknowledge the huge effort to be undertaken by these newly core funded groups and their ongoing commitment to creating a more peaceful and reconciled society for all.  

“CRC funding is an acknowledgement of the great work these groups will be doing for everyone across the community on a daily basis, and we hope it will build the bedrock of a more peaceful and inclusive society for years to come.” 


How our funding helps 

The Core Funding Scheme is dedicated to promoting community relations work across Northern Ireland. Below are some examples of the organisations we will core fund in 2021-22. 


Rural Community Network 

Rural Community Network (RCN) is a regional voluntary organisation established by community groups from rural areas in 1991 to articulate the voice of rural communities on issues relating to poverty, peacebuilding, disadvantage and equality. 

At the core of RCN’s work is an ambition to work with local groups to support them to address the legacy of the past and move them towards a more shared and peaceful future. 

Kate Clifford, RCN Director, said: 

"RCN is delighted to receive a 2-year investment in its Rural Peacebuilding and Good Relations programme from Community Relations Council. As a regional body with a deep reach into rural communities we have worked hard to consolidate our relationship with our existing membership and to expand our reach to areas where peacebuilding and good relations work has been less invested in. We are hugely excited by this new investment which will see us explore difficult conversations, shared and contested histories, the formation of Northern Ireland, partition, and the integration of new people into our communities. Our ambition is to build both tolerance and understanding of difference and to create space for honest conversations.  

“This programme of work in the coming two years will also see us work alongside practitioners in the field ensuring their voices are articulated to decision makers, and that they feel supported in roles that can often be isolating by virtue of being both rural and challenging.” 


Holywell Trust 

The Junction and Holywell Trust are two separate organisations with a common goal of building a sustainable and enduring peace based on the principles of equity, respect for diversity, and interdependence. As a model of partnership, through discussions with CRC, the organisations amalgamated their programmes in 2008 to consolidate and strengthen community relations work. 

Equity, respect for diversity, and interdependence informs their project work which is grassroots based, locally owned, contextual, cross-community and cross-cultural, relational, and which transcends painful historiographies. 

Gerard Deane, The Junction and Holywell Trust, said: 

“The Junction and Holywell Trust are delighted that CRC are continuing to fund our community relations work through core funding support. This 3-year award will allow our organisations to continue to deliver a range of innovative and challenging work including training on Ethical and Shared Remembering, projects engaging on challenging conversations such as our Future Relationship Conversations project, as well as partnership and good relations projects from our shared building at the heart of Derry/Londonderry.” 


Community Relations Forum 

The Community Relations Forum (CRF) was established in 1993 “To promote good community relations, by encouraging honest and open dialogue, enabling people to have a better understanding of and respect for each other’s views and opinions.” 

CRF work from the Barron Hall in Glengormley to help ensure that all residents of the borough can live together, in a safe, pleasant, vibrant and shared community where everyone feels equal, safe and welcome.  

Kathy Wolff, CRF, said: 

“We are so pleased to be back into Community Relations Council core funding. Core funding gives us the ability to work across Antrim and Newtownabbey with both individuals and groups on good relations and relationship building. 

“We will be starting up our Verbal Arts Reading Rooms project and our Women and politics course on zoom and we look forward to opening the doors of the Barron Hall (when it is safe to do so). 

“We are also looking forward to a busy year with our dialogue sessions, women’s group and lots of interesting and thought-provoking events and projects.” 


Building Communities Resource Centre  

Building Communities Resource Centre (BCRC) is recognised as one of the leading NGOs in in the Causeway Coast and Glens, driving forward quality community initiatives using a community development approach at an appropriate level. Their core areas of work are: Community Development and Good Relations; BAME; Mental Health; Disability; and Older People. 

Marie-Louise McClarey, BCRC, said: 

“Building Communities Resource Centre is a CRC Core funded organisation covering the Causeway Coast and Glens area, and works in partnership with the network of other CRC core funded groups. CRC Core Funding enables BCRC to employ Outreach Workers who develop projects and programmes to build relations of trust and work towards a peaceful and shared society within local communities and marginalised groups. 

“Over the next few months BCRC will be delivering shared heritage workshops marking the 100th Centenary of Northern Ireland through drama with Wake the Beast drama company; Alternative Twelfth workshops exploring the European history of the Twelfth celebrations; Partition and Northern Ireland history Book Clubs, as well as training focusing on Young People Civic Voice and Leadership in a Peaceful Society.” 


Core Funding Scheme 

Read more about the Core Funding Scheme and get the list of core funded groups.


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