New opportunities for local youth and community groups

ON Tuesday 28 August, the Cross Border Networking, Engagement and Good Practice Project was launched at The Braid Ballymena Town Hall to local groups participating in the initiative. One of the participants was the Glebe Community Association.

The project is funded under the European Union’s PEACE III programme and is managed on behalf of the Special EU Programmes Body by the North East PEACE III Partnership.

The North East PEACE III programme covers the six council areas of Ballymena, Coleraine, Ballymoney, Moyle, Larne and Limavady. The North East area does not have a land border with the Republic of Ireland and as such its historical interaction with communities from border areas has been minimal. This project will focus on cross border exchanges, promoting respect; and developing the confidence, engagement, inclusion and understanding of differences among the communities and individuals across the North East cluster area and Border Regions.

Six groups from the North East region, including including Ballymena Rugby Club, Ballymena East Rural Community Young People’s Forum, Glebeside Community Association, Ballymoney have signed up for the 13 month project during which they will link up and engage with similar groups from across the border to share learning and best practice. Along with the increase in learning, the overall aim of the project is to further develop the positive relationships between the two parts of the island.

Alderman Jack Rankin MBE, Chairman of the North East PEACE III Joint Committee remarked;

“The North East PEACE III Partnerships’ vision is to acknowledge the different cultures, traditions and communities that exist in our area. Through this Project we are focusing on cross border exchanges while increasing opportunities for networking and sharing of good practice between communities in the North East area and communities within the Border Regions.”

Laura Stewart, from Co-operation Ireland who is delivering the project on behalf of the North East PEACE III Partnership said;

“This project will extend and build upon the cross-border links made by groups in the North East. It is a clear indication of the area’s foresight in building strong relationships with its neighbour, links that in the future will help build the region’s economy and social development.”

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