£3.1m PEACE IV legacy celebrated in Mid and East Antrim
Over the last four years £3.1 million worth of EU funding has brought positive change to all communities in the Mid and East Antrim area and was recently celebrated through the launch of a special legacy video, showcasing the impact of funding.
Mid and East Antrim’s £3.1m Local Authority Action Plan began in September 2017 and rolled out initiatives across three main themes: Children and Young People, Shared Spaces and Services, and Building Positive Relations.
Over 8,000 beneficiaries participated across 16 projects, with a number of organisations and volunteers helping to deliver such initiatives.
The Action Plan was funded through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding was provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
Minister of State for Rural and Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD, said: “I would like to congratulate Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on the successful delivery of the activities under their Local Authority Action Plan, which received funding of almost €3.7m under the EU PEACE IV programme. These projects operated through creative spaces such as arts, sports and culture which work directly to change relationships and alter negative stereotypes, beliefs and attitudes. I am delighted that my Department was able to support this important project and I am confident that this essential work will continue under the new PEACE Plus Programme.”
Outlining the significance of the Councils PEACE IV Local Action Plan Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the SEUPB said: “As a result of our shared history, there still remains a need to improve and build new relationships across our community, using tailored initiatives that celebrate cultural diversity and promote reconciliation and trust building at a local level. It is exactly this type of activity which has been funded through the highly successful local PEACE Actions Plans, which are implemented by local authorities across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.
“Collectively, they have delivered funding at a grass roots level through a wide-range of initiatives to support vulnerable children and young people, build positive relations and create shared spaces and services for all. Mid and East Antrim’s PEACE IV Action Plan is a fantastic example of this work and has had a significant impact upon all of the citizens living and working across the Borough.
“This video is a testament to the positive effects of EU PEACE IV funding and demonstrates why local authorities are so important in ensuring that is delivered where it is most needed,” she continued.
Commenting on the success of the programme, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “The past four years have seen around 8000 people benefit from cross community programmes that addressed reconciliation, cultural diversity, conflict transformation and equality issues. The jam-packed programme explored these, often sensitive subjects, in a fresh and dynamic way incorporating arts, sports, culture and community development.
“It’s no mean feat squeezing it into a video, but to ensure the lasting legacy is celebrated, it’s a nice touch to have a snapshot of the years of dedicated work to help transform our communities here in Mid and East Antrim. From community gardens, to American football camps, circus skills training and bringing coastal beaches inland, nothing has been impossible. A huge thanks goes to all those involved, and I hope that shared learnings will help shape a better future for generations to come.”
The video features a wide range of successful projects from Men’s Sheds, creating a space where men can socialise and share skills, to community orchards and gardens created for all ages to come together and enjoy.
A taste of the coast was even brought inland as Ballymena’s People’s park enjoyed an Urban Beach built to host themed activities and deckchairs to enjoy family time in a sensory extravaganza. This man-made beach had families from across the borough and beyond enjoying a full programme of summer activities including everything from sand sculpting to beach volleyball.
Alexandra Rosbotham was one of the 800 young people who participated under the Children & Young People theme. She took part in the Conflict Transformation & Srebrenica project. Speaking of her experience on the programme she said: “This has been an unforgettable experience with unimaginable learning for me and the others. When you see and hear about so many people being killed because of their religion and identity in another part of Europe, you come home determined to reject and challenge prejudice at home. I am so grateful to Mid East Antrim Borough Council for giving me this opportunity and I have already put the learning to good use.”
Marjorie Hawkins, Chairperson for the Mid and East Antrim PEACE IV Partnership Board said: “The delivery of PEACE IV funding exceeded not only our original expectations of funding, but just what amazing events have come out of it. Throughout the pandemic we adapted to new ways of working. New virtual projects were developed to meet the needs of isolated older people and to engage with young people charting their COVID-19 experiences over this challenging time.
“Having this fantastic film is a great way to show the difference the programme has made, and continues to make, to participants from all communities.”
For more information on the Action Plan, please contact the Investment & Funding unit via phone. 028 25633266 or email: [email protected]
For more information on the EU PEACE IV Programme, please contact John McCandless, Communications Manager with the SEUPB via mob. 07841 367052 or email: [email protected]