The three projects focus on Community Leadership (€230,000 in partnership with Donegal Local Development CLG and Inishowen Development Partnership), Restorative Practices (€200,000) and Youth Work (€70,000). They are supported by the European Union’s Peace IV Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) by Donegal County Council. The projects were launched by Donegal PEACE IV Partnership Chairperson Cllr Paul Canning after Donegal ETB’s October meeting.
The Community Leadership programme seeks to build the capacity of community leaders and potential community leaders from ten community hubs in areas that have suffered from the legacy of the Troubles, have high unemployment, early school leaving, where there is a risk of dissident activity as well as a high level of social deprivation. It will foster an understanding of peace and reconciliation, engender an awareness of issues that lead to discrimination, stereotyping and sectarianism, facilitate the development of a network of partners from community, voluntary and statutory organisations and agencies with a strong cross-community element and a focus on peace and reconciliation activities and it seeks to mitigate any potential radicalisation by building skills, knowledge, competence and positive attitudes to support economic and social development.
The Restorative Practices project builds on Donegal ETB’s successful Peace III funded Restorative Practices project which took place from 2011-2014, including the recommendations of the research report Developing a Whole System Approach to Embedding Restorative Practices In Youthreach, Youth Work and Schools in County Donegal carried out for that project. It will involve nineteen post-primary schools (ETB and non-ETB), Youthreach (early school leaver) centres and youth work organisations from across the county.
The project seeks to improve positive relationships between and for young people, staff, parents/guardians, volunteers, train participants in accredited and non-accredited approaches to Restorative Practices and to develop an understanding of alternative ways of dealing with conflict.
The Youth Work project seeks to support youth volunteering by developing and providing more training opportunities for young people on a cross-community basis. The focus will be on awareness training in equality and interculturalism, youth-friendly equality, prevention of racism and sectarianism.
Speaking after the launch of the ETB’s Peace IV funded projects, Donegal ETB’s Chief Executive Anne McHugh said, “We are delighted to have secured this funding from the Peace IV programme. As an ETB in a border county, it is important that we play our part in supporting the conflict transformation process here in this region. We will do this by enabling the people of Co Donegal to build positive relationships through these projects. Donegal ETB has a proven track record in delivering Peace funded projects, having done so under Peace II and Peace III, and we look forward to continuing this under Peace IV over the coming years.”
All three projects are funded under priority 1 of the Peace IV programme, promoting peace and reconciliation. The Community Leadership programme and the Restorative Practices project are funded under action 4.1 of the local authority peace plan which focuses on the promotion of positive relations at a local and regional level, characterised by respect and where cultural diversity is celebrated and people can live, learn and socialise together, free from prejudice, hate and intolerance. The Youth Work project is funded under action 2.2. of the local authority peace plan which focuses on enhancing the capacity of children and young people to form positive and effective relationships with others of a different background and make a positive contribution to building a cohesive society.
Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
Donegal PEACE IV Partnership Chairperson Cllr Paul Canning formally launched the projects, saying, “This is a substantial amount of funding. At the heart of the Donegal Peace Plan is awareness of each other’s culture and learning to live with each other’s cultures.”
Apart from Donegal County Council as the lead partner, Donegal ETB is the only partner organisation that is delivering programme activity as part of the Donegal Peace IV Local Action Plan, accounting for more than 16% of the overall funding being delivered in Donegal for specific programme activity on the ground under PEACE IV.