£370,000 Funding To Promote Good Relations And Reconciliation

26 November 2021

Hand together forming a circle | NICRC

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has welcomed the allocation of almost £370,000 in funding from her Department’s Uniting Opportunities small grants programme.

The programme, which is being delivered as part of the Executive’s Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC) Strategy, targets young people aged 11 to 24 across six specific locations.

The £369,165 will go to 21 projects designed to promote good relations and reconciliation through sport and creativity by addressing barriers to community participation that some young people face.

Minister Hargey said: “I am delighted to see the response from local communities and organisations to the Uniting Opportunities grant scheme. 

“Being able to fund 21 diverse and exciting projects across such a broad geographical area will have a huge impact on the young people involved and their local communities.”

The Uniting Opportunities programme was launched in August to target young people that identify with specific groups such as those who are homeless or who are migrants, refugees or asylum seekers.

The programme has also been tailored to address barriers faced by young people in specific locations.

Minister Hargey continued: “The Scheme aims to build the confidence and self-worth of some of the most marginalised young people in our society. Projects will be delivered in all six of the target geographical locations to all seven of our target groups.

“Giving young people skills, experience and the potential to develop themselves further is what the Department for Communities is all about.”

Successful applications included:

The Now Project which combines cooking and baking skills alongside multimedia to build skills and confidence of the young people involved. 

The Odyssey Ice Academy where young people in care or suffering from poor mental health are helped to help build resilience whilst supporting wellbeing and better life chances.

Artsekta which aims to integrate minority communities and develop a deeper, mutual understanding of other cultures.  

Community Sports Network which works with young people in rural settings at risk of rural isolation. 

Brassneck Theatre Company who use the performing arts as a vehicle to encourage personal and social development in young people.

Notes to editors

1. The Uniting Opportunities programme was launched in August to target young people, aged 11 to 24 that identify with the following groups:

  • Young people who are homeless
  • Young people who are migrants, refugees or asylum seekers
  • Young people with a disability
  • Young people in care
  • Young people with poor mental health
  • Young people who offend or at risk of offending
  • Young people at risk of rural isolation

2. The United Opportunities programme supports projects in the following areas where the core programme is being delivered:

  • Botanic - South Belfast
  • Portadown and Lurgan
  • Black Mountain (West Belfast) and Castle (North Belfast)
  • Causeway – North Antrim
  • Waterside/The Moor - Derry City
  • Faughan - Derry City and Strabane

3. Headline data for 2017 – 2021 for the United Opportunities Programme indicates: 98% young people overall enjoyed Uniting Opportunities, 88% of young people reported that they had made a new friend from a different religious background, 61% reported that they had made a new friend from another ethnic group, 91% of young people reported that their confidence had increased as a result of taking part in Uniting Opportunities and 96% of young people reported that their self-efficacy had increased as a result of taking part in Uniting Opportunities. (Source: DfC Professional Services Unit, participants pre/post survey data for Uniting Opportunities 2017-2021)

4. Media enquiries to the DfC Press Office at press.office@communities-ni.gov.uk

5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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