New reconciliation venue

Waterside-based community group, All Saints Caring Association, this week revealed details of a £750,000 redevelopment of its cross community peace and reconciliation venue.

The rebuilding of the Stewart Memorial Hall will enable the group to accommodate community and cross community activities for the area including drop-in schemes, training courses and community relations programmes.

Partly funded by the International Fund for Ireland with grant assistance of £656,125, the modern 422 square metre space is designed to be a neutral base that will help support community relations efforts by encouraging dialogue and friendships in surrounding areas.

The Fund is also supporting the Association’s ongoing programme of community and community relations activity.

Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “This project is a welcome boost for the whole city. It is important that modern and neutral spaces and resources are available to help people tackle mutual concerns and problems and promote understanding.

“Through this modern venue, All Saints Caring Association will provide new opportunities for people to meet, learn and work together. This will be an important and powerful addition to the collective efforts that are already underway to improve community relations, support peace building and reduce sectarianism in this area and across city.”

Speaking about the progress of the project, Malcolm Ferry, Chair of the Caring Association, said: “The site on the Glendermott Road provides the ideal opportunity to become a focal point of peace and neutrality for the city. It is our hope to improve cross community relations through a series of projects aimed at building bridges. The centre equipped with practical facilities will offer a mix of community outreach activities and will cover areas such as health, drug awareness, sex education, employment, debt counselling, relationships and more – all of which will centre on improving relations between all the people in this area.”

Mayor Kevin Campbell said he was delighted to support the redevelopment of cross community facilities aimed at promoting peace and reconciliation work in the city and region.