The International Fund for Ireland has confirmed €1.17m/£980,000 of financial assistance that will be shared between 13 community projects in Northern Ireland and the Southern border counties.
The funding, approved at the organisation’s recent Board Meeting in County Sligo, includes more than half a million Euro (€600,000/£500,000) for six projects that will support vulnerable young people to enrol in good relations activities that enhance their education and employment prospects. These yearlong projects are supported through the Fund’s Personal Youth Development Programme which assists young people to make positive choices in their lives and build resilience so they can excel in difficult environments.
A similar amount (€579,000/£480,000) will also be shared among seven projects under the Peace Impact Programme that aim to address difficult issues linked to the legacy of conflict and engage with people who are at risk of becoming involved in sectarian or anti-social activity.
Commenting on the announcement Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said:
“The Fund is focused on equipping communities, and young people in particular, with the means to resist and disrupt the dangerous spiral of division and disaffection. This allocation of financial support is a timely investment and will support vulnerable people who are at risk of being exploited by criminal or armed groups. The projects receiving financial support have set out bold and innovative plans to build confidence, resilience and leadership within their communities.
“For more than 30 years, support from the Fund has helped reduce tensions and promote positive transformation during periods of social and political uncertainty. We cannot and do not seek to control the external factors that impact on communities, but we can help foster the resilience needed to overcome existing and emerging challenges. We know there are risks that still need to be taken for a lasting peace and the quality of our interventions has never been more evident.”
The Chairman took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund - the European Union and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - for their support.
The latest funding package includes awards to seven new one-year Personal Youth Development projects including:
• €84,559/£70,183 to Foróige for an initiative that enables young people within Cavan Town and surrounding environs to develop resiliency and good relations and enhance their education, training and employability capacity and prospects.
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- €111,142/£92,618 to Galbally Youth and Community Association for a cross-community project in County Tyrone aimed at giving participants an opportunity to learn about each other’s cultural identity while building confidence and undertaking activities to improve employment potential.
- €112,567/£93,806 to Roe Valley Resident’s Association for a youth project in Limavady that will support vulnerable people aged 16-25 years to positively change their current situations and re-connect with wider society and education, training or employment opportunities.