4 Derry and Donegal cross-community and youth projects get International Fund for Ireland funding

Four local projects in the north west have been successful in securing investment for a range of projects from the International Fund for Ireland.

Creggan Enterprises Limited has received £76,268 under Peace Impact Programme (PIP) for one year to continue work in the Derry and Strabane District Council area.

The project has been successfully funded under PIP since 2020 and will continue to work with at risk young people and residents with cross- community, multi-cultural and marginalised community engagement through quiet diplomacy, mediation, and community intervention.

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Resolution North West meanwhile will use £163,105 through PIP to deliver a two year programme that aims to build stronger, more confident communities focusing on transitioning and mentoring, culture and identity, and mediation, based in the Waterside area.

Paddy Harte, third from left with IFI board members.

The project has successfully engaged with young people in recent years to reduce anti-social behaviour around bonfires and flags.

Waterside Theatre Company with partner Amharclann Ghaelige Ghaoth Dobhair in Donegal will use £94,859 for a one year, cross-border and cross-community creative arts programme, focusing on building meaningful, lasting cross-border relationships and connections between people that share an interest in the creative arts and literature north and south. They plan to perform a play to provide a platform for dialogue about the impact of war on people and communities.

£66,320 has been awarded to Lifford Clonleigh Resource Centre & Include Youth for the 1 year ‘L.E.A.D’ Project. The project will work with young people on a cross-community, cross-border basis, living in rural, semi-rural, single identity and hard-to-reach communities on each side of the East Donegal-West Tyrone border.

The organisations are among ten across the north and south to get a share of £1,029,436 funding to provide support to a range of projects.

Paddy Harte.

This package, the IFI said, comes at a “fragile time in peace building as political instability and the cost-of-living crisis threaten to cause polarisation and further breakdown in community relations”.

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The IFI was set up by the British and Irish Governments as an independent international organisation in 1986. It delivers a range of peace and reconciliation initiatives across Northern Ireland and the southern border counties. It currently supports a total of 38 projects in Northern Ireland and 23 in the southern border counties.

IFI Chair Paddy Harte said: “This support comes at a critical time and will benefit many communities under our current Programmes. Peace building work with those who are often hardest to reach has never been more important. Our projects are working tirelessly in a very difficult climate to engage with those who have not felt the benefits of the Peace Process. We are committed to delivering cross-community and cross-border outreach, encouraging challenging conversations to deal with the current issues as well as the legacy of The Troubles.”

“In the past 12 months, the IFI has engaged with over 19,000 people in capacity building, events, and training. Through tailored and unique support, 862 young people have achieved accreditations and 125 secured employment. These encouraging outcomes show that it is possible to achieve positive community transformation, but we must continue to build on this for future generations.”

“However, the continuing suspension of the NI Executive and the on-going uncertainty around the NI Protocol are causing polarization and hardening views across some communities in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties. Unfortunately, this has led to increased mistrust, disillusionment, and the feeling of being left behind with little optimism for the future.

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“If we add the cost-of-living crisis into this mix, the stark reality is that many marginalised communities who feel they received little from the Good Friday Agreement remain the most vulnerable and need positive intervention. The current instability has created a large vacuum filled with opportunity for paramilitary groups to exploit and gain prominence.

“We also recognise the importance of offering opportunities for young people who, without this support, would remain more susceptible to paramilitary recruitment or anti-social behaviour. We continue to successfully divert young people away from activity that could be detrimental to their future.”