Communities Minister launches Uniting Opportunities programme

Date published: 09 August 2021

The Department for Communities’ Uniting Opportunities small grants programme, has today been launched by Minister Deirdre Hargey.

Communities Minister launches Uniting Opportunities programme
Communities Minister launches Uniting Opportunities programme

It is being delivered as part of the Executive’s Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC) Strategy and aims to promote good relations and reconciliation through sport and creativity by addressing barriers to community participation that some young people face. 

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said:

“I’m delighted to announce the opening of the 2021-23 Uniting Opportunities Grant Scheme. My Department has been running this scheme since 2017 supporting projects that create opportunities for participation for 11-24 year olds in underrepresented groups. Projects continued to be delivered throughout the pandemic providing vital support to those in most need and now look forward to continuing this support as we emerge from Covid.


“Since the programme’s inception more than £1million funding has supported 63 projects and enabled 1,094 young people to participate in Uniting Opportunities and I look forward to visiting some of the projects which will be funded over the next two years to hear first-hand how the young people in local communities are benefitting from this scheme.”

The Department for Communities (DfC) recognises that the life experiences of young people varies widely and there are those who face multiple barriers when it comes to engaging with their local community. To help support those most in need, the Uniting Opportunities programme will target young people, aged between 11 and 24 years, who identify with the following groups: 

  • Young People who are Homeless
  • Young People who are Migrants, Refugees or Asylum Seekers
  • Young People with a Disability
  • Young People in Care
  • Young People with Poor Mental Health
  • Young People who Offend or at risk of Offending
  • Young People at risk of Rural Isolation

Uniting Opportunities has been specifically designed to support DfC’s core Uniting Communities programme. It supports projects from areas where the core programme is being delivered, or is scheduled to be delivered.  Our current and scheduled delivery areas are: 

  • Botanic - South Belfast
  • Portadown and Lurgan
  • Black Mountain (West Belfast) and Castle (North Belfast)
  • Causeway – North Antrim 
  • Waterside/The Moor - Derry City
  • Faughan - Derry City and Strabane

Applications to the Uniting Opportunities Programme follow a two stage process. Further information on this is available here

Notes to editors: 

  1. Headline data for 2017 – 2021 for the United Opportunities Programme indicates: 98% young people overall enjoyed Uniting Opportunities, 88% of young people reported that they had made a new friend from a different religious background, 61% reported that they had made a new friend from another ethnic group, 91% of young people reported that their confidence had increased as a result of taking part in Uniting Opportunities and 96% of young people reported that their self-efficacy had increased as a result of taking part in Uniting Opportunities. (Source: DfC Professional Services Unit, participants pre/post survey data for Uniting Opportunities 2017-2021)
  2. Media enquiries to the DfC Press Office 
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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