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PEACE IV Programme Celebration Event

As the Antrim and Newtownabbey PEACE IV Programme draws to a close, a special celebration event was held on Thursday 28 September 2023 at Theatre at The Mill, Newtownabbey, to showcase the many projects delivered across the Borough from 2016 – 2023.

Members of the PEACE IV Partnership were joined by representatives from The Executive Office, the Special EU Programmes Body, programme delivery agents, and Elected Representatives from Antrim and Newtownabbey, to highlight the wide range of work delivered under three PEACE IV themes:

  • Building Positive Relations
  • Children and Young People
  • Shared Spaces and Services

The Antrim and Newtownabbey PEACE IV Programme received over £3m in funding from the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding for the programme was also provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

The PEACE IV Local Area Action Plan successfully delivered 27 programmes across a range of themes and target groupings, throughout the Borough. In addition, linked to these 27 programmes, a total of 72 Resource Allocation projects enabled local organisations to design and deliver small projects with direct impact, in local communities.

The programmes and projects resulted in the roll out of:

  • A leadership and life skills programme for young people;
  • The establishment of the Newtownabbey Baby Bank;
  • Capacity building projects for communities and individuals;
  • Arts, sports and recreation projects;
  • Work with the Key Institutions
  • Cross Border programme collaborating with Cavan County Council

The flagship capital project saw the creation of one of the UK’s largest skate parks, Skate 100, at the V36 complex which opened in May 2022. This project has had a dramatic impact on reducing anti-social behaviour at this site and deepening its roots as a shared space.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper, BEM, commented, “I am delighted to have personally participated in the PEACE IV Programme and know that my local community will benefit from one of the community regeneration projects that formed part of the overall programme, for many years to come.  I look forward to further investment coming into the Borough through PEACEPLUS to build further upon the achievement of the PEACE IV Programme.”

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rosie Kinnear, said, “I was delighted to attend the Peace IV Celebration event, and to welcome people to the Theatre at The Mill. It was wonderful to see so many community groups represented, and to hear and see the positive impact Peace IV funding has had directly within communities across the Borough.”

Chairperson of the Antrim and Newtownabbey PEACE IV Partnership Councillor Paul Dunlop, BEM, thanked all those involved, “I would like to thank the funders who made this programme possible, and all other contributors, including the PEACE IV Partnership members, delivery agents and participants, who made it a reality”.

“Throughout the journey we, as a Partnership, faced a number of challenges and I am proud of the way partners worked together to find the best way forward.  We cannot close the PEACE IV Programme without mentioning the impact felt by the COVID pandemic, however the resilience demonstrated to fulfil obligations and achieve the desired outcomes was truly heartening.”

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphries TD,  said: “I’m delighted that my Department of Rural and Community Development was able to support this initiative with funding of over €133,000. The projects that you have delivered through this action plan have made a huge difference in so many communities right across the district. They have helped enrich the lives of our young people, bring people together and tackle issues such as sectarianism, racism and prejudice. And that’s what PEACE is all about. Congratulations to all the stakeholders involved and I have no doubt you will build on your excellent work under the new PEACEPLUS Programme.”

CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body Gina McIntyre said, “In the PEACE IV Local Action Plan Programme it was key that support was given to projects which addressed local needs and built capacity at a community level, crucially amongst our young people, to lead on driving peace and reconciliation in their areas. The projects which delivered under PEACE IV at a local level, have promoted greater levels of positive relations, cross-community engagement, and integration, particularly for the next generation.

“We are very proud of the positive legacy of the PEACE funding, but there is still work to do, and the newly launched PEACEPLUS programme will allow us to continue directing vital funding into the Borough and the communities where it will have the most significant impact.”

Claire Johnston, PEACE IV/PEACEPLUS Programme Manager at The Executive Office, said: “On behalf of The Executive Office I would like to congratulate Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council on the success of their PEACE IV Local Action Plan.  The extensive programme of activities delivered has promoted positive attitudes to cultural diversity and encouraged the building of relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.  This work has also helped create shared spaces where people can live, learn and socialise together, creating a safe, inclusive environment in which to promote good relations.

“Thank you to the council and everyone who has played a part in delivering the projects, and especially to the participants – congratulations on all that you have achieved. The benefits of these innovative projects and programmes will have a lasting impact on everyone involved and will set the foundation for the new PEACEPLUS programme.”