Antrim and Newtownabbey PEACE IV Programme Celebration Event
As the Antrim and Newtownabbey PEACE IV Programme draws to a close, a celebration event was held on Thursday 28 September 2023 at Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey, to highlight the projects delivered across the Borough from 2016 – 2023.
Members of the PEACE IV Partnership were joined by representatives from The Executive Office the Special EU Programmes Body, programme delivery agents, elected members and the newly formed PEACEPLUS partnership, to highlight a wide range of projects delivered under three PEACE IV themes:
- Building Positive Relations
- Children and Young People
- Shared Spaces and Services
The Antrim and Newtownabbey PEACE IV Programme received over £3 million in funding from the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding for the programme was also provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper, BEM, commented, “I am delighted to have personally participated in the PEACE IV Programme and know that my local community will benefit from one of the community regeneration projects that formed part of the overall programme, for many years to come. I look forward to further investment coming into the Borough through PEACEPLUS to build further upon the achievement of the PEACE IV Programme.”
Chairperson of the Antrim and Newtownabbey PEACE IV Partnership Councillor Paul Dunlop, BEM, thanked all those involved, “I would like to thank the funders who made this programme a possibility, and all other contributors, including the PEACE IV Partnership members, delivery agents and participants, who made it a reality”.
“Throughout the journey we, as a Partnership, faced a number of challenges and I am proud of the way partners worked together to find the best way forward. We cannot close the PEACE IV Programme without mentioning the impact felt by the COVID pandemic, however the resilience demonstrated to fulfil obligations and achieve the desired outcomes was truly heartening.”
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphries TD, said: “I’m delighted that my Department of Rural and Community Development was able to support this initiative with funding of over €133,000.
The projects that you have delivered through this action plan have made a huge difference in so many communities right across the district.
They have helped enrich the lives of our young people, bring people together and tackle issues such as sectarianism, racism and prejudice.
And that’s what PEACE is all about. Congratulations to all the stakeholders involved and I have no doubt you will build on your excellent work under the new PEACEPLUS Programme.”
CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body Gina McIntyre said, “In the PEACE IV Local Action PlanProgramme it was key that support was given to projects which addressed local needs and built capacity at a community level, crucially amongst our young people, to lead on driving peace and reconciliation in their areas. The projects which delivered under PEACE IV at a local level, have promoted greater levels of positive relations, cross-community engagement, and integration, particularly for the next generation.
“We are very proud of the positive legacy of the PEACE funding, but there is still work to do, and the newly launched PEACEPLUS programme will allow us to continue directing vital funding into the Borough and the communities where it will have the most significant impact.”
Claire Johnston, PEACE IV/PEACEPLUS Programme Manager at The Executive Office, said: “On behalf of The Executive Office I would like to congratulate Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council on the success of their PEACE IV Local Action Plan. The extensive programme of activities delivered has promoted positive attitudes to cultural diversity and encouraged the building of relationships based on mutual understanding and respect. This work has also helped create shared spaces where people can live, learn and socialise together, creating a safe, inclusive environment in which to promote good relations.
“Thank you to the council and everyone who has played a part in delivering the projects, and especially to the participants – congratulations on all that you have achieved. The benefits of these innovative projects and programmes will have a lasting impact on everyone involved and will set the foundation for the new PEACEPLUS programme.”
The PEACE IV Local Area Action Plan successfully delivered 27 programmes across a range of themes and target grouping, throughout the Borough. In addition, linked to these 27 programmes, a total of 72 Resource Allocation projects enabled local organisations to design and deliver small projects with direct impact, in local communities.
The programmes and projects resulted in the roll out of: a leadership and life skills programme for young people; the establishment of the Baby Bank; capacity building projects for communities and individuals; arts sports and recreations projects; work with the Key Institutions and a cross border programme collaborating with Cavan County Council, to name but a few. The flagship capital project saw the creation of one of the UK’s largest skate parks, Skate 100, at the V36 complex, which has had a dramatic impact on reducing anti-social behaviour at this site and deepening its roots as a shared space.