Ballynafeigh is Beacon of Hope for Shared Future Says Assembly Committee

Synopsis: Members of the Assembly Committee for Social Development today visited Ballynafeigh Community Development Association (BCDA) in South Belfast to see at first-hand how the Housing Executive’s ‘Shared Communities Programme’ has had a positive impact on the local neighbourhood and on the residents who live there.

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 16 May 2013

Reference: SD 03/12/13

Members of the Assembly Committee for Social Development today visited Ballynafeigh Community Development Association (BCDA) in South Belfast to see at first-hand how the Housing Executive's 'Shared Communities Programme' has had a positive impact on the local neighbourhood and on the residents who live there.

Members met with BCDA staff and local residents to find out more about how the programme helps to support, develop and celebrate cross community cooperation and cultural diversity.

Speaking after today's visit Committee for Social Development Chairperson Alex Maskey MLA said: "There has been a lot of recent media attention on proposals for a shared future, but it is quite clear that for many years, the people of Ballynafeigh have been laying solid foundations to support that future.

"We have heard very positive comments today from residents and community representatives about how the 'Shared Communities Programme' has helped to challenge prejudice by focussing on good relations and community cohesion. It is evident from what they have told us, that building bridges between communities can be achieved through greater community participation in events and on issues that are relevant and important to the community as a whole.

Mr Maskey concluded: "However, we all know that there is much more to be done. Tackling disadvantage, developing shared housing communities and focussing on neighbourhood renewal will help us reach a point where shared communities are the norm not the exception.'

ENDS

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