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Communities encouraged to engage now in local PEACEPLUS Co-design process

13 May 2022
Derry City and Strabane District Council has announced the formation of its PEACEPLUS Partnership Board and is encouraging local communities and interested individuals to engage in the PEACEPLUS consultation and co-design phase.
The process is specific to one element (Theme 1.1) of the forthcoming PEACEPLUS funding programme which is anticipated to be signed off by the EU within a couple of months. As a whole, the PEACE PLUS Programme is a €1bn investment in the social, economic and environmental development of Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. It comprises six themes, which encompass 21 individual investment areas. It is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and detailed information is available on https://www.seupb.eu/
Theme 1 is ‘Building Peaceful and Thriving Communities’. Under Theme 1.1 there are ‘Co-designed Local Community PEACE Action Plans’ with a provisional figure of €90m spread across the participating local councils in Northern Ireland and the border counties. Under the previous PEACE programme, PEACE IV, council received £6.7million which was distributed over 65 projects and benefitted around 7000 local people. The scale of PEACEPLUS is expected to be slightly larger.
At a council level, Theme 1.1 requires councils to create a co-designed Local Community PEACE Action Plan. After significant local awareness raising, the local PEACEPLUS Partnership Board has recently been established as the first step in that process.
“I’d like to congratulate all those who have come through the nominations and selections process to represent their communities and agencies on the new Board,” said Mayor, Alderman Graham Warke.
The 34 strong board includes community representation from local community planning structures across the council geography; social partners from wider thematic or identity based community groups, local councillors from a range of political parties and statutory agencies.
Newly elected Chair of the PEACEPLUS Board, Derek Moore (NW Cultural Partnership), explained “A co-designed action plan means that what is put into the plan, what is included in the bid to secure the funding, as well as the management of that plan in eventually delivering projects, will be a partnership process all done in the public interest.”  Co-Chair, Jacki Connolly (Ballyarnett Local Growth Partnership), emphasized, “Now is the most vital time for groups to engage. We need your ideas. Help us to gather not just evidence of what is needed, but to design cross-community projects that can meet that local need and make a significant and lasting contribution to peace and reconciliation. If an idea is ultimately to be funded, it has to be included in the process now, before the funding bid is submitted.”
Welcoming the formation of the PEACEPLUS Partnership Board Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the SEUPB said: “We are delighted with the progress that the Council is making in preparing the groundwork for delivery of its new local community Peace Action Plan for PEACEPLUS. This Programme has enormous potential, not only will it build upon what has been supported in the past, but there is an opportunity to fund many more projects and initiatives which will empower local community partnerships and make a lasting contribution to the on-going peace we enjoy.”
“All of the local authorities across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland will be involved in the creation of local community Peace Action Plans. These plans will be developed in partnership with local people, ensuring that they are responsive to their needs and will deliver at a grass-roots cross-community level. I look forward to hearing more about the Council’s progress over the coming weeks, as it works through the consultation phase and co-creates a new Action Plan that will make a real and tangible difference for the years ahead,” she continued.
The local community PEACEPLUS action plan will be centred around three core themes: Local community regeneration and transformation; Thriving and peaceful communities; and Building respect for all cultural identities.
Community groups, individuals and organization are encouraged to engage by signing up to receive direct information by e-mail on: https://www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/PeacePlus/News-Letter-Sign-Up
There is also an initial series of public workshops in May and June repeated in a range of locations and times. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend the one workshop which best suits them to put forward their views and ideas. Advance registration is not required. Details of the workshops are available at https://www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/PeacePlus/Take-Part/Co-Design-Workshops
For any further information or particular requirements, please contact [email protected]
The PEACEPLUS Programme is an EU funded programme designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border region.  It is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for this element of the PEACEPLUS Programme has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in Ireland.