Projects working with local people receive first grants under People and Communities

We’ve awarded around £1 million to four projects working with local people to make the changes they want in their communities.

The projects, which are the first to be funded under the People and Communities programme, are working with people across Northern Ireland to tackle issues including unemployment, isolation, mental health issues and family crisis.

North West Taxi Proprietors, which is based in the Creggan area of Derry/Londonderry, has been awarded £500,000 to develop the Community Support Initiative after people from the city identified the need to set up a project to help them retrain and get back to work. A management committee including local unemployed, self-employed and employed people will help steer the project over the next five years.

Eamonn O’Donnell, project manager at North West Taxi Proprietors, said:

“We know that unemployment is a big issue in the north-west and self-employment and starting social economy enterprises may be one possible way for some people to create a better life for themselves and their families.

“We’re working closely with people in the community who are telling us that they need some support to create their own opportunities to gain employment and training. Some people may have an idea for starting up on their own business for example but are not sure how to turn it into reality.

“We are right in the heart of the community and want this project to be a one stop shop for self-employment and social economy enterprises, which will help, support and sustain local employment and develop local services.”

The three other projects awarded grants totalling £1,051,936 in this round of People and Communities funding are:

Ballybeen Men’s Motivation Group’s Men’s Shed project in east Belfast. It is working over four years to build on the group’s existing men’s shed pilot project using ideas from local men. The project, which received £199,740, is creating a new dedicated space with equipment for men of all ages to come together and take part in activities they choose. The project also includes an informal drop-in service, intergenerational workshops, physical and mental well-being activities and a work skills programme. The project will visit other men’s sheds to share their learning.

Solas Moyle’s Community Well Being Hub project. It is working over five years to develop its current community led mental health and wellbeing hub in Ballycastle. The project, which received £173,990, is better supporting people by running a more consistent drop-in service and a long-term programme. It is providing early one-to-one and group support including counselling, gardening, art and crafts, cookery, and sessions with other groups and schools. The project is targeting people who tend to be more isolated such as men, vulnerable young adults, carers, young parents, older people and people in rural areas.

Homestart Newry and Mourne’s Rapid Response Parenting Support Project. It is using a £178,206 grant over three years to provide immediate support to families in crisis or at risk of crisis. The project is working directly with families from the Newry and Mourne area in their homes over 6-8 weeks to identify the best way of supporting them. This includes training on managing challenging behaviour, debt management, household management, and supporting families to deal with issues including relationship breakdown and domestic violence. The project is also working closely with other services to refer families on to them if necessary.

The People and Communities programme offers grants of between £30,000 and £500,000 for two to five year projects. More information, including details of a dedicated People and Communities phone line for groups to discuss their project idea, can be found on our website.

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