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Beyond Beliefs Data

on .

Beyond-BeliefsThe Louth Leader Partnership, in association with local community organisations Le Chéile CDP and Áit na nDaoine CDP, were granted financial assistance in June 2010 to deliver a two-year project ‘Beyond Beliefs Data.’

The project uses the neutral territory of IT training, with a particular focus on multi-media skills, and was designed to use shared learning and experiences as tools to promote reconciliation between Nationalist communities in Cox’s Demesne and Muirhevnamor, Dundalk and the Unionist community in Shankhill, Belfast, and also between the local Catholic and Protestant communities in Dundalk.

Both Cox’s Demesne and Muirhevnamor are significantly disadvantaged, showing evidence of social exclusion, high unemployment rates, high levels of poverty and lack of opportunities for young people. This disadvantage is a result of the conflict as large numbers of displaced people settled in the area during the Troubles. It resulted in the isolation of these groups within their communities and led to mistrust and stigmatisation.

In addition to delivering valuable multimedia skills training, the project included a significant cross-border and cross-community element through engagement with community representatives in the Vine Centre in the Shankhill, Belfast. Participants in both communities made reciprocal visits for workshops providing opportunities to explore and discuss their beliefs and the impacts, both positive and negative, that these beliefs can have on their communities and the wider community.

Project Coordinator, Belinda McGurk said that the Beyond Beliefs Data project had made a significant contribution to the local communities of Dundalk and Belfast and in promoting cross-community engagement. “The main aim of the project set out to acknowledge the past and support participants on a cross-border basis in addressing prejudice and intolerance to build trust. Many participants both from the Protestant and Catholic areas between Dundalk and Belfast shared the same view that if they had not taken part in this project they would never have had the opportunity to see each other’s cultures and traditions.”

Beyond the Beliefs was continually oversubscribed from the outset and to date over 160 people have completed the course and received certificates in computer skills. Due to the resounding success of the course, the organisers requested additional funding to extend the programme until the end of 2013 which the Fund has agreed to support.

“The additional funding support will enable us to work with a further 160 people and help them not just to gain valuable computer skills but also to meet and share their experiences and traditions with their neighbours in their local community and across the Border,” says Belinda.