Date: 22 Dec 2022
Members of the Roma community joined Forward South Partnership and council representatives at a special event in Ormeau Pavilion this week looking back at the work of PEACE IV project – the Roma Hub.
Community development and regeneration charity, Forward South Partnership, has been facilitating the hub at University Street since early 2021.
The project was funded through the £14.5m Belfast PEACE IV Local Action Plan and has developed relationships with Roma communities living in the city - providing support and opportunities for personal development and integration.
It was part of the wider PEACE IV Supporting Communities initiative, which also included a Traveller support programme and support for newcomer communities in the city.
The Roma Hub hosts a range of activities including craft workshops, english classes offering specialist advice and assistance to the community.
Briege Arthurs, CEO of Forward South Partnership, said: “We felt honoured to host the Roma Hub via Forward South Partnership and were also privileged we were able to assist with the integration of one of the most marginalised groups in our city. The Roma people have so much to offer Belfast and we see at the hub every day how just a little support can bring comfort and joy to a whole family.”
Speaking about the hub, Anca Milac from the Roma Women’s Group, said: “I really love that we learned new things at the hub and put into practice the things that we learnt. It was practical, very helpful and a really nice place to visit.”
Councillor John Kyle, Chair of the council’s Shared City Partnership, said: “Our PEACE IV Roma Support Project was marvellously successful with great participation from the Roma and surrounding communities.
“I’m delighted to attend this event to meet some of the Roma community and hear their stories about taking part in the project. The aim of this project was to support minority ethnic communities in the city providing diversity awareness, inclusion and integration opportunities with other communities in the city.”
The council’s PEACE IV Local Action Plan is funded through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, which is managed by The Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
For more information on the council’s PEACE IV work, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/PEACEIV