Community Organisations 'Do Important Work' Across NI

Community organisations are "continuing to do important work" across Northern Ireland, Junior Ministers Gary Middleton and Declan Kearney have said.

Junior Minister Middleton was speaking during a visit to Bangor Foodbank and Community Support in Co Down. Yesterday marked the launch of a Babybank, which provides essential items for new parents, and a youth hub, where a range of services for young people will be delivered.

He said: "These initiatives are a fantastic example of government working in partnership with a range of community and voluntary organisations to bring about positive change in society.

"But really this is about supporting individuals – be they expectant mothers using the Babybank, or young people in the Youth Hub – to enhance the entire community. These interventions may be small but they are significant for those impacted, and I hope the benefits they bring will resonate across neighbourhoods.

"I was pleased to have the opportunity to see how these ideas have turned into action, and get a real sense of the collective effort behind this worthwhile initiative. Thank you to everyone involved."

The projects are funded by the Executive Office under the Communities in Transition (CiT) programme. It aims to build confidence and cohesion in communities most impacted by paramilitarism, criminality and organised crime.

Mr Middleton added: "So many groups and organisations are part of this combined effort as we work to support and empower communities. And the collaboration we see in Bangor today is mirrored across Northern Ireland. The Executive is pleased to stand with those who take steps towards a better future."

Junior Minister Declan Kearney added: "These fantastic projects will make a real difference to the lives of local families and young people in the Rathgill and Kilcooley areas and beyond. They are great examples of the meaningful difference the Communities in Transition Capacity Building Project is making on the ground. By empowering local communities and encouraging and enabling more people to participate in community life and play a key role in meeting need in their own areas, CiT is helping to narrow the space that can be exploited by paramilitaries and other criminal elements and bring about positive change."

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