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Local event focuses on ‘Win-Wins’ with EU PEACE IV Funding.

12 February 2019

Over 2000 people are currently taking part in local PEACE IV funded projects under the Derry City and Strabane District Council Programme. With most of the £6.7 million programme already up and running in the local area, nearly £2million has been spent and successfully claimed back to date from the SEUPB (Special EU Programmes Body) who manage the programme.

‘Once we complete our current round of small grants funding, the PEACE IV Board will have contracted all the £6.7 million of funding,’ explained Cllr Caoimhe McKnight, Chair of the PEACE IV Board.  ‘The financial impact of that to local communities and the local economy in general is significant. The PEACE IV programme has created and sustained local jobs and freelance employment opportunities as well as benefitting the 2000 people who have signed up so far and are taking part actively in the cross-community programmes locally. By the end of 2019 our target is to have 4868 people involved in the programme. Our message to people to get involved! There’s something for everyone.’

Catherine Cooke (FWIN) Co-Chair of the PEACE IV Board outlined some of the programme highlights to date. ‘In our Building Positive Relations theme we’ve seen ground-breaking work for gender inclusion under our Liberation from Patriarchy to Gender Justice project. It has included a publication, conferences and training roll-out,’ she said. ‘Equally impressive is the sustained collaboration between the local Irish, Ulster-Scots and Marching Bands sector in the CultureFuse project. Dealing with the past and its legacy have also been explored in our Creative Centenaries #MakingHistory1918Exhibition at the Tower Museum throughout 2018 and through the Valued Voices series of public reflective events and 1 picture, 200 words exhibition giving voice to the stories of hidden victims and survivors of the ‘Troubles.’ Our JustUs tendered contract delivered by Gaslight Media Trust has virtually completed a project training 30 local facilitators/youth workers/teachers to deliver multi-media based youth awareness workshops tackling contentious issues.’

‘Under the Shared Spaces theme, the Peace Tourism project is progressing effectively bringing together tourism provider from mainstream, community and peace and reconciliation sectors. The Natural Connections Tourism Conference: Our Place Our Voice was a key component of this in September,’ stated Cllr Caoimhe McKnight. ‘Our £0.5 million project with the Waterside Shared Village has delivered the first cross-interface sustained summer scheme in Northern Ireland and recently helped pave the way for the announcement of massive capital investment into the site. In Newtownstewart and Strabane and the surrounding rural areas, communities are also engaged in programme delivery and a cross-community environmental project will soon be up and running around Strabane/Lifford. We’ve £350,000 on the ground in Castlederg for shared space focused cross-community programmes and are seeing local communities there really work together. Our Bonfires/Alternatives project is also working well including a unified cross-party press statement coverage and dialogue. The programme will now deliver training programmes as it further explores action to help move forward in an agreed cross-community way on contentious issues.’

‘The Children and Young People’s theme is set to take off in 2019 with the PEACE IV funding supporting a significant part of programming of Youth19,’ added Sue Divin, PEACE IV Programme manager. ‘The NW Ministry of Youth has been a fantastic group of young people who have collectively helped to shape the programme. We’ve also seen great engagement from marginalised young people including those with a disability under projects like the Beacon Project which is delivered for us by YouthActionNI. We’ve also recently contracted six cross-community programmes for 8-11 and 11-14 year olds in the Sperrin/Derg, Faughan and Derry~Londonderry areas. Around 20% of our participants so far are from rural areas and that figure should soon grow even higher. We’ve also contracts either running or soon to get off the ground with 18 local community groups under our small grants programme – a roll out of over £0.5million direct to community groups.’

The PEACE IV Programme has also collaborated with other councils regionally, holding a key networking event in the Autumn with Donegal County Council and Causeway Coast and Glens Council.

With so many local projects, there are wide-ranging opportunities for individuals and groups to get involved as participants. Anyone interested in supporting local reconciliation, cross-community and cross-border work is encouraged to sign up online for the monthly e-newsletter on www.derrystrabane.com/Peace-IV   or to contact [email protected]

The PEACE IV Programme is supported by the European Union, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.