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Craigavon-based peace project determined to overcome challenges with £136k funding boost

Drumbeg North & South Residents Association

A Craigavon based project, Drumbeg North & South Residents Association is set to continue to make a positive impact on future generations, thanks to an additional funding boost from the International Fund for Ireland.

The project has been operating since 2002 against a challenging backdrop.

Despite a number of barriers including an attack on the community house last year, which the group operates out of, they are determined that this will not deter progress being made with local residents.

Joanne Shortall, Project coordinator with Drumbeg North & South Residents Association said: “Support through the PIP Programme has given our area the opportunity to begin a healing process through our legacy programme. This community was isolated after the Good Friday Agreement. The project has empowered residents by offering a range of programmes and helped build better relationships within the community.

“Many have gained qualifications as well as taken driving lessons, driving and theory tests and employment through our education and employment programme. Without this funding, residents simply would not get access to these opportunities.

“This project has brought people together for the first time and introduced them to new peace building and cross- community initiatives. It has just been amazing for this area and we really hope that we can continue to develop and make a lasting change. It has given residents a strong voice and the opportunity to have a positive influence within the local community.”

It is funded through the IFI’s Peace Impact programme, which aims to deliver positive community transformation through sensitive interventions with those who may have not traditionally participated in peace building or reconciliation activities.

Hilary Singleton, IFI Board Member added: “Reaching out to communities who often feel that the Peace Process has left them behind is an integral part of our work.

“Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the project, residents are learning how to deal with legacy issues of the past alongside taking part in a range of activities that upskill and empower them to play a positive role within their community. The latest financial support from the Fund of £136,042 will ensure that momentum can continue and people can experience the benefits of positive intervention.”

Key elements of the project include the delivery of leadership, diversity and cultural programmes as well as employability and training workshops. The group has worked to being residents together and held a number of events as well as two successful community festivals.

The programme extension will see the group consolidate its success to date and encourage more engagement with new participants from the area.

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