Three community projects across the north west have been allocated over £700,000 between them by the International Fund for Ireland.
The IFI confirmed this week that the Leafair Community Association in Derry has been allocated £298,008 to extend and expand the 3D Youth Project - delivered in partnership with Bready & District Ulster Scots Association - for two years.
The funding will support 19 current participants to enrol in education and employability activities and enable a new cohort of 20 young people to take part in personalised activities aimed at improving life prospects and roles within their communities.
In Inishowen, £165,960 has been allocated to Newtowncunningham Community Outreach Project for a two-years cross-border and cross-community project that will facilitate peace-building activities in the village and the development of an inclusive model of engagement between the two larger traditions and minority communities.
A further £265,090 has been allocated to Donegal Youth Service to extend the Re-ACTIV8 Programme, a cross-border and cross-community youth initiative spanning Lifford, Letterkenny, Inishowen, Ballybofey, Donegal Town, Ballyshannon and Strabane, Sion Mills and Clady. Current participants will now get new employability training and 32 new young people will be enrolled in personal and social development activities.
The projects are among 16 to benefit from a £3.4m IFI funding package, and many involve helping vulnerable youths to re-engage in training and learning, and reduce the risk of being drawn into violence, crime and addiction.
IFI chair, Dr Adrian Johnston, thanked the international donors to the Fund for their support – the governments of USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the EU.
He said: “The risks that projects are taking, with our support, are paying dividends at a challenging time for communities. Our work over the decades has been conducted in parallel with the political process and the current context has only served to strengthen our resolve to support people to remain engaged in peacebuilding activities and resist polarisation. Our steady and careful approach has enabled communities to move forward and secure significant progress on a number of complex issues. Investments made through our current strategy are achieving a great deal, but much more remains to be done. Communities need to see urgent and proactive delivery on commitments made in the Fresh Start Agreement and the Tackling Paramilitarism agenda.”