IFI commits over £100k to Ballymena based Carson Project

IFI Board members Billy Gamble; Allen McAdam;Hilary Singleton; IFI Chairman, Dr Adrian Johnston; Siobhan Fitzpatrick, CBE; Paddy Harte at the recent funding announcement
IFI Board members Billy Gamble; Allen McAdam;Hilary Singleton; IFI Chairman, Dr Adrian Johnston; Siobhan Fitzpatrick, CBE; Paddy Harte at the recent funding announcement

A Ballymena based project is one of nine Personal Youth Development Projects and nine Peace Impact projects to share in a £2.6m funding kitty confirmed today by The International Fund for Ireland.

They have committed the financial assistance to be shared between 18 community projects in Northern Ireland with £100,273 going to The Carson Project, Ballymena for Focus Youth Ballymena South (FYBS), a one-year youth project that will assist people who face a range of negative issues and pressures that have left them disengaged from society, marginalised and excluded from education, employment and training.

The project will engage 15 participants in employment, education and training activities with the aim of enabling to take control of their lives.

The funding, approved at the organisation’s recent Board Meeting in County Antrim, includes £1.5m/€1.7m for nine good relations projects that will assist young people to take better control of their lives and overcome adversity. Supported through the Fund’s Personal Youth Development Programme, these projects will provide opportunities to build resilience and self-confidence and improve education and employment prospects.

The remaining funding will support nine projects, delivered through the Peace Impact Programme (PIP), that will address difficult issues linked to the legacy of conflict and engage with people who are at risk attack or recruitment by armed groups.

Commenting on the announcement Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “Despite political turbulence, community groups are continuing to take risks and develop bold and ambitious solutions to sensitive issues. Ground-breaking projects, like the 18 receiving support today, are giving young people dynamic new options that reduce the potential for sectarianism and the influence of armed groups. Communities have grown stronger and more stable as a result.

“The Fund is acutely aware of the impact that political uncertainty has on society, particularly in areas that have yet to realise a direct dividend from the Peace Process. Our assistance is enabling many communities to remain resilient to polarisation, but there must be a stronger consolidation of the community and political journeys. It is vital that community ambition is met by equal political will if a sustainable Peace Process is to be realised.”

The Chairman took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund - the European Union and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - for their support.