Improving community relations
In May 2013 the NI Executive published the Together: Building a United Community Strategy (T:BUC). This strategy reflects the NI Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.
Through the Belfast Agenda, we have made a commitment to create and develop a shared, peaceful and reconciled city. The Belfast Agenda seeks to develop a city re-imagined, connected and resurgent delivering inclusive growth that leaves no-one behind. This long-term vision requires council, government agencies, the private sector and residents to work together, to collaborate and make it real.
Good relations legislation places a legal duty on all public bodies to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group. We promote good relations by promoting cultural diversity and respect for all cultural identities. We promote Belfast as a city for everyone.
Good Relations Strategy
Our Good Relations Strategy outlines how we will create a shared city. It was developed following extensive consultation and identifies five key outcomes:
- Strong, positive and transformative civic leadership – inclusive governance with community change makers.
- Shared and connected spaces - a smart connected city driven by the inclusive and transformative place making.
- Shared services – focusing on co-design and social innovation.
- Structured collaboration and partnerships.
- An intercultural city and respectful cultural expression within the rule of law.
We facilitate the Shared City Partnership which brings together elected members and community partners to advise and guide on good relations issues within the city. We work with our elected members and partners to ensure delivery of the outcomes in the good relations strategy.
Our dedicated Good Relations Unit deliver a good relations programme is 75% funded through the T:BUC District Council Good Relations Programme and 25 per cent council funded. This programme supports the delivery of local responses to locally identified good relations priorities.
The action plan is aligned to the objectives of the Executive Office ‘Together: Building a United Community’ (T:BUC) strategy.
The T:BUC four key strategic priorities are:
- Our Children and Young People.
- Our Shared Community.
- Our Safe Community.
- Our Cultural Expression.
The good relations team works on the delivery of good relations projects and initiatives across Belfast, including: celebration of cultural diversity, challenging sectarianism and racism, promoting the development of positive relationships between people from different backgrounds and creating shared space and marking key events.
Key projects include:
- Grant aid – to support local responses to locally identified good relations issues. Further details available through our online funding hub.
- Support for positive cultural expression – Bonfire and Cultural Expression programme, St Patrick’s Day Celebration Fund.
- Interface Programme – work with interface communities to develop relationships, create shared spaces and transform barriers.
- Supporting new and minority communities - work to promote the inclusion and integration of new communities including the facilitation of the Migrant Forum which seeks to ensure access to services for new communities.
- Children and Young People – We provide funding for diversionary work that will limit the likelihood of young people becoming involved in conflict at key dates when tensions may rise. We also work with schools and youth organisations to provide opportunities for children and young people to learn about the different and shared identities of people within their neighbourhoods and across the city.
- Creating safe communities – we support initiatives that will address emerging issues in relation to sectarianism and racism.
Decade of Centenaries Programme
The Decade of Centenaries Programme commemorates a decade of key historical moments and events between 1912 and 1922 that shaped Northern Ireland and Ireland during this time.
We produce a range of publications on good relations issues for the city. Current publications are listed below. If you would like to receive a full copy of any of these publications, please email us and we’ll send one to you.
- Good Relations Strategy – published September 2019.
- Building Good Relations – an overview of our current programmes of work.
- Gaelic Place Names of Belfast – an introduction to Gaelic cultural heritage and an insight into the origins of local areas.
- DiverseCity Events Programme – details of free events which explore the diverse cultures and communities of the city.
- Recent Small Grants awards.
- Refugee Transition Guide - designed to help voluntary and statutory agencies provide a joined up service and prevent unnecessary poverty and homelessness during this difficult transition stage.
- New to Belfast Guide - information on the range of support services available to black and minority ethnic people living in Belfast.
We also lead on the delivery of the PEACE IV programme. This is an EU funded cross-border initiative designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border region. The programme is financed through the European Union and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Find out details of PEACE IV events.
Good Relations Week 2021
This year, Good Relations Week runs from Monday 20 – Sunday 26 September. The theme for 2021 is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’, focusing on peace building and cultural diversity.
To celebrate Good Relations Week, we’re running a number of free online workshops during the week and running into October.