Several organisations in Derry, Limavady, Inishowen and West Tyrone were this week celebrating after the International Fund or Ireland allocated over £1m. to projects in the North West.
The massive funding boost sees Derry charity HURT (Have Your Tomorrow), which works with those facing addiction issues in the city and their families, being allocated over £234,000.
This will be used for a two-year project that will provide training and support to 24 young people aged 16 to 25 years to build their portfolio of skills and progress into employment or higher education.
Creggan Enterprises Limited (CEL) meanwhile has been given almost £100,000 for a 12-month extension of its cross-border Unheard Voices project.
The project works with women around conflict-related issues on a cross-community basis. It also engages young women through schools and community outreach initiatives and offers a range of accredited training.
The Bogside and Brandywell Initiative has received a grant of £133,117 for its Fountain/ Bishop Street Peace Walls project.
The Derry initiative is one of five peace wall projects across the north to receive funding to help create positive change towards barrier removal.
A further £76,540 has been allocated to James Connolly Cultural Youth Group in Derry to extend a project engaging young people in learning, training, social economy activities and cultural initiatives within and between communities.
The Londonderry Bands Forum meanwhile has been given £94,350 for a one-year extension of its project focusing on cultural outreach, engagement and education.
Inishowen Development Partnership meanwhile is celebrating after being awarded almost £100,000 for The Chance Project, an 18-month initiative that will engage 15 young people in a programme of good relations, personal development and skills development.
Smaller grants have also been awarded to the Lettershandoney & District Development Group (£5,000) to develop a community project as part of the wider ‘Tús Nua – New Start’ youth project, while Roe Valley Residents Association will use its £10,000 to develop a community project as part of the wider the ‘Building Better Futures’ initiative.
Almost £200,000 has been allocated to Strabane AYE to extend and expand the Strabane Youth Support Programme for two years. The extension will enable 20 new participants to enrol, and for 10 previous participants to engage in new education and employability activities.
Border Arts meanwhile have received £5,000 to deliver a youth-led initiative across Castlederg, Newtownstewart and Victoria Bridge, while £94,900 has been allocated to Teach Na Failte Sperrins & Glens for a one-year extension of a project engage with those marginalised or excluded from peace-building activities across North Derry, South Derry and North Antrim.
The local projects to receive funding are among 32 across the north and the border counties sharing a pot of £3.8m in grant aid from the International Fund for Ireland.
Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “We are pleased to award financial assistance to the 32 projects and commend them for their bravery and leadership in challenging environments. “Sustained political deadlock, reduced public spending and Brexit have placed new pressures on marginalised communities. This allocation of funding is timely and supports urgent action at a community level.
“The risks that projects are taking are paying dividends at a difficult time for communities and the Peace Process. They have been active in creating new opportunities for people to engage in peacebuilding activities, transform lives and disrupt the cycle of violence.”
He added: “Our work over the decades has been conducted in parallel with a political process. While the crisis facing the political institutions in Northern Ireland cannot be underestimated, it remains our hope that the political parties will resolve once again to form a partnership government.”
Dr Johnston also thanked the donors to the Fund, the European Union and governments of the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand for their support.
The International Fund for Ireland is an independent, international organisation established by the Irish and British Governments in 1986.
The Fund’s main objectives are to promote economic and social advance and encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between Unionists and Nationalists throughout Ireland.
Since its inception, the Fund has committed more than £728m to a wide variety of projects in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties of Ireland, much of the funding used to help advance projects across the north-west region.
The International Fund for Ireland said developing and funding initiatives that tackle segregation and promote integration to build a lasting peace in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties is one of its key priorities.