Community Relations in Schools (CRIS) was established in 1984 to support schools to provide opportunities for pupils to meet children and young people from other traditions. For 26 years CRIS was core funded by the Department of Education delivering pupil programmes with hundreds of schools across NI. Driven by a change in funding for community relations work in education, CRIS broadened both its approach and funding base to reflect the ever growing need for responsive and intergenerational approaches to peacebuilding.
CRIS's head office is based in north Belfast but operates in four dedicated geographical sites - north Belfast, Antrim and Randalstown, Cookstown and Newtownabbey.
The six strands of work embodying the work of CRIS includes: children and young people's programmes, school development, parent and carer's community relations (CR) programmes, family CR residential programmes, work with the teacher training colleges, community/good relations training and work in the wider community.
CRIS have been pioneering work that involves the family unit and an overall school community approach to building peace and reconciliation. They work with nursery schools, primary schools and secondary schools. The group have identified schools as key communityhubs - essentially seeing schools as the lifeblood of a local community. Schools engage in capacity building activities to support them to become agents of change. Work is carried out with all school staff and all roles within a school team, supporting an engagement with parents and carers to take an active role within their own communities to effect change within the wider community. These capacity and engagement programmes have specific focus on values, attitudes and advocacy.
ContactCommunity Relations In Schools (CRIS)
Unit 6, North City Business Centre
2 Duncairn Gardens