Two North Belfast primary schools were celebrating this week with the start of a three-year £200,000 community programme. Holy Family Primary in Newington and Currie Primary on the Limestone Road received the funding from Altlantic Philanthropies through the OFMDFM (Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister) to deliver programmes on a cross-community basis.

Programmes on parenting skills, mental health awareness, child care and more will be delivered at the schools over the next three years.

The programmes are designed to reach out to everyone in both communities and not just the families of current pupils.

The programmes will be delivered in conjunction with children’s charity Barnardos, suicide awareness charity PIPS Programmes and the Parents Advice Centre.

Holy Family principal Dinah McManus said it will be a great boost to the local community.

“The focus is on improving cohesion in the community,” she said.

“Schools are seen as a focal point of contact within the community and for us as a school this is going to support what we do and what the community does together.”

Ashleigh Galway, principal at Currie Primary, said the new programmes will be a continuation of the work the two schools have done together before.

“The children have worked together in the past and this gives us the opportunity to extend that further into the community as it is a very positive step,” she said.