Funding boost for Glengormley-based group

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Significant funding has been announced to help build reconciliation in Newtownabbey.

The Community Relations Forum has received £35,965 from the Community Relations Council as part of its Core Funding Grants Scheme for the 2019/20 year.

The Mission Statement for Community Relations Forum, an organisation established in 2003, and running prior as Newtownabbey Community Relations Forum since 1993, is: “To promote good community relations, by encouraging honest and open dialogue, enabling people to have a better understanding of and respect for each other’s views and opinions.”

CRF aims to achieve this through the following: Continue to develop the reputation and work occurring within the Barron Hall (CRF run building) as the only shared space venue within Newtownabbey through publicity, networking and providing events, classes, dialogue forums and training.

Many of the issues addressed, especially those addressed reactively, are contentious in nature. CRF is able to chair and facilitate such meetings while providing a safe shared space.

Speaking at the official launch of this year’s scheme, Community Relations Council Chair, Peter Osborne, said: “Reconciliation is about relationship building on the ground. It is hard, challenging work made more so within the current environment.

“We are deeply appreciative of the courage, resolve and commitment of these organisations and their staff as they do their part to build a better future for us all.”

The Core Funding Scheme contributes towards the salary and running costs of organisations considered of strategic importance in promoting community relations work in Northern Ireland.

This work includes peace and reconciliation centres; those involved in mediation and conflict transformation training; community arts; church-based work on reconciliation themes; cultural organisations and interface projects.

The fund is supported by The Executive Office. There are a total of 29 projects receiving support of £1.2million.