£45million Urban Villages initiative will transform areas for generations to come - Foster and McGuinness

Date published: 15 September 2016

First Minister, The Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA and the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness today launched Urban Villages Strategic Frameworks designed to improve good relations and develop areas which have suffered economic and social challenges.

 Ministers pictured with local school children Eva McDaid (Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir) and Sam Hughes (Fountain Primary School)
Ministers pictured with local school children Eva McDaid (Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir) and Sam Hughes (Fountain Primary School)

Speaking at the launch at the Gasyard Centre, Derry-Londonderry, the First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I welcome the launch of the Urban Villages Strategic Frameworks which will unlock potential right across government to transform areas which have seen years of decline and deprivation.

“These Frameworks are testimony to the Executive’s ambition for Urban Village areas and our commitment to deliver positive and lasting change in Northern Ireland. Shaped by local communities, they reflect their priorities and desire to realise the full potential of the people and places where they live.

 “The Frameworks identify opportunities and provide a clear vision for a comprehensive and ‘joined up’ approach in support of good relations and Programme for Government outcomes.

 “The Northern Ireland Executive is delivering a £2.6million capital programme across five areas this year and supporting community-based projects to enhance local partnerships and better ways of working together.

 “As First Minister, I talk about my positive ambition for Northern Ireland and I believe that initiatives such as these will help communities to grow and work together.”

The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “This £45 million of planned capital investment over the Programme for Government period will help to transform the physical environment in these places. It will build capacity for the local community and foster positive community identities. 

 “The Strategic Frameworks build on what already works and will enable current and future investment to be delivered in more effective and sustainable ways.  They provide government and other stakeholders with local insight and an invaluable resource to more effectively tackle economic, environmental and social challenges which impact on people’s daily lives.

 “The old approach of Government departments working in isolation is a thing of the past. In the Bogside, Fountain and Bishop Street, this means aligning approaches to health and wellbeing and supporting young people, and delivering capital investment to tackle dereliction and vacancy, including working with other government partners to take forward the regeneration of the Meenan Shops complex and further public realm improvements.”

 The event also included presentations of the collaborative work that has taken place with local communities and partner organisations, whilst showcasing projects and programmes which show cross-executive working in the five neighbourhoods including Ardoyne and Greater Ballysillan; Bogside, Fountain and Bishop Street; Colin; EastSide; and Sandy Row, Donegall Pass and the Markets.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Urban Villages Strategic Framework is a headline action within the NI Executive’s Together: Building a United Community (TBUC) Strategy
  2. For further information or to download copies of the Strategic Frameworks, please visit the Together Building a United Community section.
  3. The Urban Villages Initiative is designed to improve good relations outcomes and develop thriving places where there has been a history of deprivation and community tension. It has three inter-connected aims, to foster positive Community Identities, to build Community Capacity, and to improve the Physical Environment.
  4. The five Urban Villages areas are, Ardoyne and Greater Ballysillan (North Belfast), Colin (West Belfast), EastSide – focusing on the Lower Newtownards Road area (East Belfast), Sandy Row, Donegall Pass and the Markets areas (South Belfast) and the Bogside, Fountain and Bishop Street (Derry~Londonderry)
  5. The Strategic Frameworks present key findings and propose high level actions from a comprehensive process of information gathering, analysis and engagement.  They seek to build on what is working, rather than a focus on deficits in these places.  The Frameworks are intended to provide a reference point for a wide range of stakeholders in order to identify opportunities to collaborate around TBUC objectives and shared PfG outcomes and indicators.
  6. Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
  7. View photos from The Executive Office Flickr collection.

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