Project ‘building safer communities’ across four Limavady estates

Celebrating the completion of the Roe Valley Peace Impact Project.
Celebrating the completion of the Roe Valley Peace Impact Project.

A major community outreach and training partnership that created more 1,100 places on courses and activities in Limavady was recognised at a special celebration event recently.

Since launching in June last year, the goal of the Roe Valley Peace Impact Project was to deliver practical training courses, that include accredited and non-accredited courses, designed to prepare people aged 16-30 for employment and community leadership roles.

Led by Roe Valley Residents Association, the project was delivered through a partnership involving the Roe Valley, The Glens, Coolessan and Bovalley areas of the town.

The initiative also hosted a wider range of intergenerational activities and workshops that engaged with young people, families and the wider community to establish understanding of cultures, history and traditions and foster greater inter-area co-operation.

Cathy O’Kane Project co-ordinator, Roe Valley Residents’ Association: “We received funding in June 2014 - over £107,000 - and we have targted youth, 16-30, doing employability courses and older people and young mothers, a lot of gentle community work across the four estates. We have targeted people and families who would never have engaged had it not been for that funding. There is more involvement from residents within the four estates and that’s because they feel there are safe places for them to come together. It’s about building safe communities where people feel safe, regardless of what age they are.”

Ashleen Schenning, Peace Impact Programme Project Officer, said the project provided “new options and opportunities to people of all ages and ability in the community”.

She said it was about building relationships inside and outside of those communities.

“It has encouraged and challenged everyone to raise their expectations for this area and giving them a role in shaping it. It has been rewarding to see so many people come to together support the project and get involved in activities,” said Ms Schenning.

“It was about building valuable skill sets and offering a new pathway for some who may have not

felt comfortable, or accepted in mainstream projects. Within each area, it is assisting communities to build new capacities and the confidence to address difficult issues.”

In June 2014, the International Fund for Ireland awarded £81,500 to the Roe Valley Residents Association through its PIP, which looks to address some of the most sensitive, complex and challenging issues within areas where there have been low levels of engagement in peace building.”

International Fund for Ireland Board Member, Paddy Harte said:“This Peace Impact Project has creatively and successfully built on good work that has been underway for some time between the four estates in Limavady. As a result of this and the partnership approach, it has been able to reach directly into each area and provide the types of training and support that are needed most. It is a powerful example of how one community initiative can drive real, meaningful change and open new dialogue on important issues.

“The achievements of this initiative have been impressive and that it is clearly helping to propel the areas and individuals forward. Participants now feel more involved in their own community and also believe that they can make a positive contribution as well through personal development and training. The challenge now is to ensure the progress made here continues and can be expanded upon.”