It is one of the seven headline actions included in the Northern Ireland Executive’s Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC) Strategy where it sits under the T:BUC priority, 'Our children and young people'.
This priority aims to: Continue to improve attitudes among young people and to build a community where they can play a full and active role in building good relations.
Uniting Communities uses sport, physical and creative activity to build good relations between young people from different community backgrounds. It is delivered to young people aged between 11-24 years and it focuses primarily on youth engagement and leadership training. It seeks to deliver on the following outcomes;
- engage young people in sport, physical and creative activity that brings communities together and helps create the next generation of community leaders
- increase positive attitude towards those from different political, religious, ethnic, and marginalised backgrounds
- increase community capacity and capability
The Uniting Communities Programme delivery model includes the following three key elements:
- Uniting Communities through Leadership - engages young people aged 16-24 years old who are recruited to become Young Leaders and take part in a structured standardised training programme and includes the opportunity to become a TBUC Ambassador.
- Uniting Communities through Community Activity – involves young participants aged 11-16. The Young Leaders and younger participants are recruited from specific geographical areas, all of which have good relations and interface issues. Young Leaders are provided with the opportunity to co-facilitate the delivery of the community activity as their training progresses.
- Uniting Communities by Building Capacity - awards funding through a Uniting Opportunities Grant Scheme to short-term intervention projects which support groups of marginalised young people. Over periods of 12 to 24 weeks, projects help young people to better engage with their community by building their confidence, personal abilities and core skills.
Typically a Uniting Communities programme takes approximately 18 to 24 months to complete and is rolled out in four phases:
|Phase One||Recruitment and Training of Young Leaders (aged 16-24)|
|Phase Two||Recruitment of Participants (aged 11-16)|
|Phase Three||Delivery of Community Based Good Relations Activity through Sports and Creativity|
|Phase Four||Embedding Sustainability with Young Leaders designing and delivering their own projects in the community|
Due to the intensity of programme delivery, it is rolled out on an area by area basis. The Uniting Communities Programme has been delivered in the following areas:
- Falls and Village areas (Pilot)
- Uniting Erne East
- Uniting Colin and Eastside
- Uniting Ardoyne and Greater Ballysillan
- Uniting Derg DEA
Approval has been given to scope the potential to roll the programme out to the following six areas:
- Botanic - South Belfast
- Portadown and Lurgan
- Black Mountain (West Belfast) and Castle (North Belfast)
- Causeway – North Antrim
- Waterside / The Moor - Derry
- Faughan – Derry City and Strabane
Young people from the Lurgan / Portadown Uniting Communities programme worked together to create the below video which highlights the work completed across the early phases of their programme. The video illustrates the full range of activities the young people have been involved in to help build good relations.
Further information on the Young Ambassadors and Uniting Opportunities elements of the Uniting Communities programme can be found below:
You can contact the Uniting Communities Team on;
T: 028 9051 5011