Changing our communities for the better

Groups from Ballymoney, Coleraine and Moyle last week marked the conclusion of a three-year cross-community project with a special celebration event in Derry-Londonderry.

The two-day event was designed to highlight a significant body of work on issues of identity and relationship building, and point to ways in which processes begun through the Rooting for Change Together Project can be sustained in the future.

Part-funded by the International Fund for Ireland, the project delivered a package of cross-community activities to break down misconceptions and promote understanding between communities.

Led by the Ballymoney Community Resource Centre, it was supported through the Fund’s Community Bridges Programme with additional funding coming from Department for Social Development; Ballymoney Borough Council; and the North East PEACE III Partnership’s Community Integration and Building Brighter Futures Projects.

Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “By focusing on common interests and a shared heritage, the Rooting for Change Together Project has supported communities to better understand each other’s culture and history and get to know the individuals rather than labels.

“The Fund was very pleased to support this project because it complements our strategy of promoting reconciliation and integration and promoting a positive and inclusive future for all. I look forward to seeing the relationships between people in Ballymoney, Coleraine and Moyle continue to flourish.”

Lyn Moffett, Co-ordinator of Ballymoney Community Resource Centre, said: “Through our Rooting for Change Together Project we have seen many groups in our area build stronger relationships with their neighbours and gain the confidence to address some of the sensitive issues that can cause tensions in their communities. The groups involved have invested a lot of time and effort to bring new understandings and it is my hope that the experiences of this project will continue to help alleviate the lingering divisions of the past. Participants have told us that our project has given them ‘great insight into how to go about getting what we want through peaceful ways’, that they ‘understand more about the Troubles’ and have a ‘positive feeling about the future’. We hope that BCRC will continue to contribute to positive feelings about the future in years to come.”