Peace Wall Removal
Community Celebrates Peace Wall Removal
Residents at a North Belfast interface hold a celebration event to mark a new era after the removal of a 30 year old Peace Wall.
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‘Shared Language, Landscape and Different Drums’ was the apt theme for a workshop today held in the Cleenish Centre, Bellanaleck to celebrate the successful conclusion of a four year initiative the West Cavan and West Fermanagh Social, Community and Enterprise Regeneration Project. Supported by the International Fund for Ireland, the project was led by Cavan County Enterprise Board in collaboration with Fermanagh Enterprise Ltd and Cavan County Enterprise Fund. The project set out to deliver on the ground cross community initiatives in these areas through the delivery of a range of strands such as Training, Mentoring, Networking, Information Seminars and Best Practice Visits.
The project targeted the private, community/voluntary and business sectors and over the four year period, worked with 15 active cross border community groups and 18 communities within the West Cavan/West Fermanagh area. The project partners worked together to address obstacles to social, community and economic prosperity and enterprise development in the area and in particular the critical underdevelopment of the local economy of this disadvantaged cross-border area. This was achieved through the co-ordinated provision of opportunities for fostering improved relationships, the development of a shared vision for the area and co-operative action for economic change.
The project has exceeded all targets set at the outset and has proved to be a phenomenal success. Targets set for 225 people to participate on 20 courses throughout the lifetime of the project have been more than doubled. In actuality 550 people participated on 57 courses. One final group of 12-18 participants will be trained in December.
The project works towards creating and sustaining community development in the area. This continues to be achieved through the formation of forums, community and social networks and training which address personal as well as professional needs specific to the area. It was projected that 220 people would attend Networking events over the lifetime of the project; to date it has attracted 602 participants. The final workshop is expected to attract 50 people.
Four Community Forums were scheduled to take place with a minimum of 10 people attending each event and at least 248 attended overall. As part of the Exit Strategy for the project a new Consultative Forum is being developed. This will facilitate a lasting process of social change by encouraging and providing a forum for communication and dialogue between communities on both sides of the border. Five meetings have been held so far, attracting over 100 participants with an average of 22 community and business representatives per event.
Since 2009 one on one mentoring has been provided to 77 businesses and direct supports have been given to 40 community groups. 128 private sector businesses have now been assisted over the programme, 92 of whom received mentoring or one-to-one support (including 19 tourism businesses).
Speaking at the event, Dorothy Clark, Board Member, IFI said: “Projects which develop community relations and reconciliation such as this are at the forefront of the International Fund for Ireland’s work. The successful collaboration between organisations and communities is a model that others can look to replicate. This project has been tremendously successful in fostering greater interaction among participants and teaching the benefits of working together to achieve results. The programme has allowed each of us to gain a richer understanding of the conflict and its impact. It has been an important forum for the creation of cross-community conversation and has achieved far more than anyone expected when we began this journey four years ago. I congratulate everyone involved, it has proved to be a truly exceptional project and I hope both communities continue to flourish in the years ahead. I would also like to thank the international donors to the International Fund for Ireland – the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”
Marcella Rudden, Business Advisor & Chairperson, Project Steering Committee, Cavan County Enterprise Board said: “The success of the project is not only attributable to the strong collaborative approach adopted by all project partners and stakeholders, but to the willingness and commitment of both communities and businesses to engage. This was strikingly evident during the final evaluation whereby a powerful peace impact was identified as a direct result of the project. All targets and outcomes originally set were surpassed many times over with participants expressing a consistently high level of satisfaction with the project activities. On behalf of all the project partners and everyone involved in this initiative, I would like to express our gratitude to International Fund for Ireland for their continued support and trust in the delivery of this project”.
John Treacy, CEO, Fermanagh Enterprise Ltd said: “By bringing people from both traditions together as part of an activities based programme, the initiative has been tremendously successful in fostering greater interaction among participants and teaching the benefits of working together to achieve results. We believe the outcome of this project will continue to have a very positive impact for good relations and promoting greater cross-community links in the area”.