Ritchie says regeneration is 'more than bricks and mortar'

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie MLA has urged communities in North Belfast to grasp the opportunity to create a legacy of community renewal from EU funded initiatives.

The Minister was speaking at a celebration event to showcase the collaborative work of three strategic initiatives to improve ICT skills and resources, accessible transport and provision of youth services in North Belfast.

The initiatives implemented by North Belfast Partnership with funding from the EU Urban II Programme are being delivered through six Community Empowerment Partnerships (CEPs).

Key speaker, Ms Ritchie called upon the community sector to maintain focus on the important task of rebuilding communities in North Belfast. The Minister said: “Regeneration is not just about bricks and mortar. It is about local communities and government working collaboratively to bring about real and lasting change.”

Over a hundred people took part in the event, which included interactive workshops on the three initiatives and was followed by a programme of fun recreational activities for young people from across North Belfast. These activities included a soccer tournament and sessions in creative music and radio production.

Murdo Murray, Chief Executive of North Belfast Partnership said: “Today’s celebration highlights the commitment of the people of inner North Belfast to work together within and across communities and collaboratively with government to make a serious and sustained effort to improve the overall living standards of the poorest within North Belfast.”

Urban II represents a £12.4 million investment for regenerating disadvantaged areas within inner North Belfast including £1.14m investment in collaborative projects in community transport, ICT literacy and youth service provision. These are helping to alleviate serious problems such as access to employment, ICT resources and skills, as well as provision of services for young people who make up a quarter of North Belfast’s population.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 November 2002
£3m announced for north Belfast community groups
A £3 million funding package aimed at developing communities in north Belfast to encourage dialogue and partnership has been announced by the NIO today.
21 May 2007
£1million funding invested in 'community capacity building'
Over £1million is being invested in ‘community capacity building’ in North Belfast, during the next two years, as part of an EU initiative called Urban II, aimed at fast tracking community development, it was announced today.
12 January 2004
Community Groups to get £120K funding
Community Relations Minister, John Spellar today announced that a further £120,000 is to be allocated to community organisations in north Belfast. The funding is being allocated under an extension to the Youth Development Programme which aims to support youth work across north Belfast.
15 August 2002
Focus shifts to peace conference and community projects
After weeks of paramilitary violence and civil unrest the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) is refocusing its efforts on the benefits of the current peace process.
08 April 2002
Minister's updated on North Belfast Community Action Project
First Minister, David Trimble, and Deputy First Minister, Mark Durkan, have met with the Chairman of the North Belfast Community Action Project, Rev Dr John Dunlop and his Vice Chairmen, Monsignor Tom Toner and Mr Roy Adams.