Two of North Belfast’s leading charities are to join up to better deliver peace building services to the community.

Intercomm, which works to develop cross community ties, it to embark on a series of projects with the 174 Trust, which operates the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts.

Rev Bill Shaw from the 174 Trust and Liam Maskey from Intercomm officially launched the collaboration on Friday and said it was putting an official stamp on work that was already ongoing.

“People ask me what this is about and it’s really about consummating the relationship between two organisations,” said Bill.

“Coming up to this election we’ve heard a lot about cooperation and collaboration but once you go outside you find they are a scarce commodity and there’s a challenge out there not only for politicians but for wider civic society.

“There are people who are up for that and people who aren’t but this space was always intended to be about creativity and collaboration and it’s a joy to come in here and see people use the facility doing the sort of things that builds communities.”

Joint projects completed by both organisations in the past have helped develop their experience, said Liam.

“Intercomm has collaborated with 174 Trust on one-off events and exercises in the past,” he said. “However, we are delighted to have recently signed off on a memorandum of understanding that lays out clear intentions on the part of both organisations to marry up our efforts in a more substantial manner. In these increasingly pressurised times, in terms of strains on community resources and funding I believe both organisations are being very much forward-looking and creative by facing emerging challenges head-on and ensuring vital peace and reconciliation work continues to develop.

“The fact that we can, as a new partnership, take forward this important work through the arts and culture prism is very exciting for us in terms of the opportunities this opens up.

“There’s nothing new in the work that’s going on. I think this is just putting what we were doing into an official process. Conor (Maskey, Intercomm) and Ray (Giffen, 174 Trust) have learned so much over the years from projects they have been involved in.

“We are coming into challenging times and I am hoping that by joining up key people in both organisations will be able to work together and have the shackles taken off. It’s easy to get stuck in certain ways of doing things and I am hoping now that lessons both organisations have learned over the years will be able to be used to help the community.

“In the community sector we have a lot of problems but I think the spirit of partnership and the new way we will be working with both organisations there is the ability with the experience help move their life on through music or whatever. Anything myself and Bill do will help to move that along we hope.”

For more information about the new link-up go online at and