£180,000 boost to aid relations in Rathcoole

International Fund for Ireland board members: Billy Gamble, Paddy Harte, Dr Adrian Johnston (Chairman of the Fund), Dorothy Clarke, Allen McAdam, Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Hilary Singleton.


Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography
International Fund for Ireland board members: Billy Gamble, Paddy Harte, Dr Adrian Johnston (Chairman of the Fund), Dorothy Clarke, Allen McAdam, Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Hilary Singleton. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

The regeneration of Rathcoole estate has been given a boost thanks to a grant from the International Fund for Ireland.

Newtownabbey Arts and Cultural Network has been awarded the sum of £181,131 for a two-year community project.

This is aimed at “improving employability and skills andlocal relationships” through a variety of programmes.

It is part of a £2.6 million package to support 22 community programmes in Northern Ireland.

It includes £1.5 million for ten Peace Impact Projects to assist marginalised communities to resolve complex issues relating toidentity and the conflict.

A further £972,000 has been awarded across 11 personal youth development projects that aim to encourage young people to make positive life choices, take part in good relations activities and pursue further education and training provision.

Dr. Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said:“For more than 30 years, support from the Fund has helped reduce tensions and promote positive transformation during periods of social and political uncertainty.

“The Fund is focused on equipping communities, and young people in particular, with the means to resist and disrupt division and disaffection.

“We are pleased to award financial assistance to 22 projects and commend them for their willingness to take risks to support individuals and communities in challenging environments.

“Ground-breaking projects, like these 22, have been successful in tackling underlying causes of youth involvement in anti-social behaviour and the corrosive influence of sectarianism.

“We know there are risks that still need to be taken for a lasting peace and the quality of our interventions has never been more evident.”

The chairman took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund including the European Union for their continued support.