Mostar delegation visit Waterside Shared Village Project
23 March 2022
A delegation from Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina have visited the Waterside Shared Village site as part of a trip to the city.
The €8m project is supported by the European Union's PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), and led by Derry City & Strabane District Council working in partnership with the Irish Street Youth & Community Association and Hillcrest Community Trust.
The Mostar delegation visited the Waterside Shared Village construction site where they listened to local community workers Geraldine O'Donnell and Niree McMorris as they explained the rationale and purpose for the project.
They praised the commitment of the project partners in progressing work to this stage - in particular the local organisations on both sides of the community who shared the vision for a transformative shared space for the area.
They heard how in order to fully appreciate the impact of the proposed cross community activities, it is important to acknowledge the level of relationship building achieved by the Top of the Hill and Irish Street communities in recent years, particularly given the challenging context in which this work was undertaken.
The Waterside Shared Village (WSV) will include a state-of-the-art hub building and sports complex located in the interface area between Irish Street and Top of the Hill. The facility aims to build trust and reconciliation between the two communities by creating a safe place for residents to engage in activities together.
The centre will also include a hall that can be transformed into four meeting or training rooms, a community kitchen, office space and a suite of sports changing rooms. The area around the community hub will comprise a 3G and grass pitch, a cricket training area and tennis courts.
Work is expected to be complete this summer.
Community workers Niree McMorris, Irish Street Community & Youth Association, and Geraldine Doherty, Hillcrest Trust, said they were delighted that the Waterside Shared Village will not only change the physical landscape of the area, but will improve the lives of the residents there.
In a joint statement they said: "The project will help promote reconciliation by bringing people from all backgrounds together and allowing them to engage and interact with each other in a safe shared space.
"It will also encourage people to build new relationships and renew old friendships through joint educational, sport and recreational programmes as well as being a positive example of the shared future which the EU Peace IV Programme aims to support."