Focus on Family scoop prestigious community award

FOCUS on Family in Coleraine was delighted to be recognised for their ongoing good relations work within the Coleraine area at the recent Coleraine Borough Council Community Endeavour Awards.

Beating off stiff competition, Focus on Family were awarded first prize in the Good Relations Category, for their ground-breaking ‘Understanding Our Space – Celebrating Diversity’ Programme which brings together women from Ballysally and Creevagh, Londonderry, on a cross-community programme of activities.

Focus on Family is a nurturing and development family centre based in the heart of the Ballysally estate and provides local people with quality childcare, nurturing programmes, domestic abuse programmes, skills courses, complementary therapies and much more.

There is also a strong emphasis on providing opportunities for local people to develop genuine relationships, within a good relations context, with groups and individuals from other cultural and religious backgrounds. From this ethos, the ideas behind ‘Understanding Our Space – Celebrating Diversity Programme’ were born.

The programme won the award based on the hands-on approach to bringing together different people from our local communities.

Brendan Patterson, Project Manager at Focus on Family said: ‘It will be hard to find another programme that has managed so effectively to deliver genuine, tangible, cross-community work.

“Much of this is down to the energy and drive of the staff involved in the programme, the quality of the components being delivered within it, and the support of a whole range of internal and external stakeholders.

“But, most notably, the overwhelming success of the programme is what started it in the first place – the willingness of the participating women to make an actual difference, to stand up and take those difficult first steps in the knowledge that it would lead to a better future for all involved.”

One woman captured the spirit of the project when she said: “We went away as two different groups, and came home as one big group...one big family”.

For more information on the programme or to find out how to get involved, please contact Susan Comerford, Programme Officer, Focus on Family on 028 7032 9550.