The Glengormley-based Community Relations Forum is to share in more than £1.2m of funding distributed by the Community Relations Council.
The funding, part of the NI Executive’s Together: Building a United Community strategy, will benefit a total of 33 organisations across Northern Ireland.
The Community Relations Forum, based in the Barron Hall on the Antrim Road, aims to promote good community relations by encouraging honest and open dialogue and enabling local people to have a better understanding of and respect for each other’s views and opinions.
The peace-building organisation’s funding package of more than £30,000 will support some of its vital work in the local area, including mediation services, good relations training and the continuing development of Newtownabbey’s only Peace and Reconciliation Centre - Barron Hall.
Welcoming the funding boost, CRF project manager, Kathy Wolff said the Forum is looking forward to another exciting year, which will include the provision of a variety of events and programmes such as history classes, community clean-ups, good relations training and culture and music nights.
“The Community Relations Council’s funding provides vital support for our work in building better relations and improving understanding between communities. We have a busy year planned engaging communities, promoting understanding and enhancing the range of good relations training in the area.
“We would like to thank CRC for our core funding and also to everyone that has supported us throughout the year,” she said.
CRF chairperson, Jackie Barrow added: “We would like to thank CRC for their ongoing support and core funding. This will help with the day-to-day running of the Community Relations Forum and keeping our project manager Kathy Wolff in place for another year. The CRF has been very busy over the past 12 months and will continue to bring innovative, sometimes challenging and always worthwhile programmes to the area.”
Community Relations Council chief executive, Jacqueline Irwin commented: “This funding is going to support important work to build a more shared and united community using sport, drama, education, training and the arts. It will support activity to build strong bonds of connection and sharing between people of all ages, social and cultural backgrounds in rural areas as well as in our cities. In this way we believe it will also help to build a safer environment for us all. We are pleased to distribute this vital funding on behalf of The Executive Office and we encourage more people to get in touch with us and be involved in building a united community now and for the future.”
First Minister Arlene Foster said the £1.2m funding will help grass roots organisations play a key role in helping build “a stronger, better Northern Ireland”. Her deputy, Martin McGuinness, stressed that the Executive is “determined to tackle sectarianism, racism and other forms of intolerance” and said that everyone has a role to play.