Image shows young people gathered and smiling.

The Cedar Foundation Community Inclusion Services were successful in obtaining funding through Peace IV to develop the Diversity and Good Relations Project within the Craigavon & Banbridge area of the Southern Health & Social Care Trust.

The project is funded by the PEACE IV programme, a cross-border initiative, financed through the European Union and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). It has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.

This funding has allowed for the facilitation of programmes for young people aged 8-16 years to addresses learned prejudices against others of different abilities, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender or cultures.

Excellent partnerships have been developed with the Disability Team in Craigavon who have referred the young people to the programme.

A number of very successful programmes have taken place with local youth providers such as the YMCA (Portadown), exploring areas such as; ‘Our Community’, ‘Who is in our community?’ and ‘What it Means to be part of our Community’. Several community impact sessions have taken place with activities such as litter picking, planting flower beds and purchasing food for people facing homelessness.

Thomas, a young person accessing, the programme said:

“The YMCA and Cedar together has helped me overcome my fear of new people, Thanks to Billy the funny one, Matty the best footballer, Kelly the nicest friend ever and Nathan who is cool.  The people at the YMCA are the nicest people ever.  The Cedar foundation has been helping me for years.”

Emma, Thomas’ Mum, also commented:

“The social inclusion service has helped my son grow in confidence more than I ever thought would be possible. Life is tough for Thomas with bullying and teasing at school and this had really knocked his self-belief but after a hard day at school there’s nothing cheers him up more than the prospect of a Cedar activity to go to!! The highlight of each week is going to that group or seeing Kelly and I can send him off in complete confidence that he will be happy and extremely well looked after. Off the back of attending this he now feels able to go to another group run by the YMCA without additional support and seems to have integrated fully into the gang. I never thought I’d see the day this would be possible, and I cannot thank Cedar enough for what this means to us as a family.”

Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

Diversity and Good Relations Project: A project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).