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Council offered £3.2m of EU Funding to Help Build Positive Relations

18 January 2017

Approximately £3.2m worth of funding under the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme has been offered to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The funding will be used to support a number of locally-based projects and initiatives that will promote positive relations between people from different communities and backgrounds.

It will result in an increase in the percentage of people who think relations between Protestants and Catholics have improved and an increased cultural awareness of minority ethnic communities.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council will be responsible for the delivery of a ‘PEACE Action Plan’ focused on three key areas: ‘Children & Young People’; ‘Shared Spaces and Services’ and ‘Building Positive Relations’.

The support will be used in the delivery of local community initiatives for children and young people involving sports, arts, culture and language. It will help make public space in towns and villages more inclusive and facilitate programmes for shared space.

The funding will also be used to assist conflict resolution activities at a local level to encourage positive interaction between residents and groups from divided neighbourhoods.
Match-funding for this element of the PEACE IV Programme has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in Ireland. 

An announcement of the total funding offered to all local authorities across Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland was recently endorsed by Ministers from both of these match-funding Government Departments.

Welcoming the funding Cllr John Scott, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, said: “I am delighted to confirm that the PEACE IV action plan for our borough has been approved by the Special EU Programmes Body. Work has been ongoing since early 2016 to consult key stakeholders and collate the evidence base to inform the key themes and priority actions which we have included within our plan. Children and Young People, Shared Spaces & Services and Building Positive Relations will be at the heart of our peace building efforts over the programme period to March 2020.

“Through the funding provided we will work with a range of partners including our schools, churches, community groups and statutory partners to create positive change for our communities. I would like encourage people across our borough to participate and realise the benefits of this investment, which will build upon the success of the previous PEACE programmes”, he continued. 

Commenting on the funding offer Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the PEACE IV Programme, said: “Local authority-led partnership played a key role within the previous PEACE Programme, in terms of ensuring that money was distributed at a local level, where it could make the most impact. As such they will play a similar role under the new PEACE IV Programme for the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area.

“Representing the public, private and community sectors this partnership is ideally placed to ensure that EU funding is invested within community-based projects that will make real and lasting change,” she continued.