Belfast projects take Pride of Place at annual awards
4 Dec 2017
Community projects in north and west Belfast have been recognised at the annual Pride of Place awards.
The Pride of Place competition was initiated 15 years ago through a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development. It has grown into the largest competition recognising community development achievements on the island of Ireland.
Out of the 49 awards presented this year at this year’s awards ceremony in Letterkenny, two honoured Belfast projects: Lower Oldpark took top prize in the ‘Urban Neighbourhoods/Villages With A Population Under 1000’ category, while Upper Springfield Youth Team won the ‘Community Based Youth Initiatives’ category.
The judges said of the Lower Oldpark project:
“As an interface area, this community was confronted with many challenges since the Good Friday Agreement; including dereliction, lack of investment, social unrest and educational underachievement. The commitment, determination and hard work of this community to work with residents to provide services through the provision of after-schools club, women's group and youth provision has laid the foundation for lifelong learning and contributed to building community spirit and self-reliance. The improvements brought to the lives of those living in this community greatly impressed the judges.”
Speaking about Upper Springfield Youth Team, the judges said they were “impressed by the sympathetic and pragmatic approach adopted by this group in their engagement with young people. They are meeting the needs of young people in a depressed area beset with the social problems associated with drink, drugs, suicide and more. That is their priority in this needs driven environment. Initiatives have been successfully implemented to address the challenges and careful forward planning augers well for the future!”
Congratulating the two organisations, Alderman Tommy Sandford, Chair of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee, commented:
“We cannot over-estimate the invaluable work undertaken by the thousands of volunteers who work tirelessly across our city, and beyond, to make their neighbourhoods better places to live. These volunteers often are the lifeblood of our communities, and often work without seeking reward or thanks, just for the desire to improve the lot of the area in which they work. Therefore, it is all the more pleasing to see the efforts of these two groups recognised by these prestigious awards.”