County Derry groups to share youth development funding

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Three community groups in County Derry are set to share funding of over £260,000 for youth development programmes.

The International Fund for Ireland (IFI) announced last week that it would award £4,430,621 for peacebuilding to groups across Ireland.

Locally, the Roe Valley Residents’ Association in Limavady received £94,238 while the Coleraine-based Causeway Rural and Urban Network received £87,422.

Maghera Cross Community Link received £81,891.

The money will be used by the groups for a youth personal development program that is unique in its approach and delivery with at-risk youth.

The program aims to increase efforts to divert youth from criminal behavior into programs, trainings and initiatives that create a better future.

Thanks to this program, more than 3,200 young people have obtained various accreditations and 528 are in continuing education.

The IFI was established by the British and Irish governments as an independent international organization in 1986.

It proposes a series of peace and reconciliation initiatives in the northern and southern border counties. It currently supports a total of 40 projects in Northern Ireland and 15 in the southern border counties.

Welcoming Connecting Communities’ first funding package, IFI President Paddy Harte said, “The IFI has made significant progress in a number of key areas of our peace and reconciliation work.

“We have played an important role in breaking down the walls of peace and helping to divert young people from paramilitary recruitment and dissipating tensions during periods of serious civil unrest over the past year.

“While progress should be acknowledged, a number of challenges remain that will require urgent action to help improve community relations, reduce instability and the threat of violence.”

And IFI Chairman Mr Harte added: “The impact of Covid 19, the ongoing political uncertainty and elections later this year in Northern Ireland, and the wider complexities of all the islands around Brexit, the NI protocol and increased calls for border polls indicate that tensions will continue to rise in communities that feel left behind.

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