SIX projects in West and North Belfast have received significant funding from The International Fund for Ireland (IFI).

The funding is part of support through the Peace Barriers Programme (PBP) and Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP).

Black Mountain Shared Space has been awarded £509,719 for 24 months to extend and expand on its activity around Peace Barrier sites in West Belfast, aimed at communities on either side of Peace Barriers. The project will involve the opening of the Shared Space Hub, the removal/changes to number of barriers associated with the new site, cross-community events and legacy and diversionary events.

Duncairn Community Partnership will use £395,588 for a two-year cross-community project in Lower North Belfast to facilitate peacebuilding activity at Peace Barrier sites. It will deliver wider community-based schemes which support Peace Barrier change and cross-community engagement programmes to facilitate wider intra-and inter-community peacebuilding.

Greater Whitewell Community Surgery has received £327,769 for 24 months to deliver several wider community-based programmes and events in the Greater Whitewell area and to positively impact on Peace Barriers by gaining community buy in and support. Activity includes continued engagement on Peace Barrier structures, cross-community youth programmes, diversionary programmes, work on parades and dealing with sectarianism.

The Imagine Project has been awarded £367,610 for 24 months to extend and expand on its work in the Lower Oldpark/Cliftonville area of North Belfast to support change in local communities around attitudes towards Peace Barriers along with barrier change, through working with men, women, young people and delivering events to facilitate dialogue and understanding.

Twaddell, Ardoyne, Shankill Communities in Transition (TASCIT) has been granted £569,592 for two years to continue its work around the development of Peace Barrier sites and develop wider community-based schemes to positively impact on Peace Barriers by gaining community buy in and support through cross-community events, mediation and working with women on both sides of the community.

Finally, through PYDP, BYTES will use £245,369 for the 24-month ‘Project North’, to engage with and empower at risk young people, not in education, employment, or training in unionist areas in North Belfast, through personal development training and skills and employability development.

IFI Chair Paddy Harte, welcomed the latest financial package.

“Our projects are working against a challenging backdrop," he said. "Tensions remain around increased paramilitary activity and recruitment of young people, sectarianism, criminal activity, anti-social behaviour, culture, and identity. We also understand that the fallout from the Windsor Framework has caused some communities to regress creating further polarisation."