The Community Relations Programme was funded by the International Fund for Ireland through the Ballymote Community Project to develop a varied range of activities on a cross-community basis to all residents in the Downpatrick Neighbourhood Renewal Area.
From September 2011 to February 2012 we were granted a 6 month extension of this funding and this allowed us to re-employ Ronan Gilchrist as the Project Worker. By working in partnership with Ann Grant, NRA Project Worker, and Jenny Laverty of the Flying Horse Ward Forum, a number of programmes were offered for both young and older people in the Neighbourhood Renewal Area.
Through working in partnership with the PSNI, the Youth Service and Down District Council a midnight soccer programme ran on Saturday nights at the Ballymote Sports and Well Being centre. Over 20 young people attended this as well as workshops on crime prevention and drug and alcohol awareness.
Young people were also able to take part in a cross community drama initiative with the Spanner in the Works Theatre Company.
Reminiscence programmes were run for over 40 older women as part of the weekly Active Mind and Active Body partnership and for older men in the “Men Only Thursday Club”. Another Reminiscence programme was also run in conjunction with the St Vincent de Paul Luncheon club.
The other purpose of this programme was to build links between Downpatrick and other areas in order to Understand Other Cultures. Strong links have been established with Kilcooley and Rathgill, two Neighbourhood Renewal Areas in Bangor. Community celebration events were staged in Newtownards and Bangor with over 300 people attending and opportunities exist for future joint projects and activities.