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Urban Villages Initiative

A headline action within the NI Executive’s Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC) Strategy

Project Description

The Urban Villages Initiative is designed to improve good relations outcomes and develop thriving places where there has previously been a history of deprivation and community tension.

The Urban Villages Initiative is shaped and delivered in partnership with local communities and has three core aims:

  1. To foster positive community identities
  2. To build community capacity
  3. To improve the physical environment

The initiative delivers a range of community-led, cross-cutting and capital projects through a collaborative approach with councils, government departments and local community organisations, with a good relations focus; for the benefit of people living, working in, and visiting the Urban Village areas.

The five Urban Village areas include, Derry~Londonderry: Bogside, Fountain & Bishop Street. South Belfast: Sandy Row, Donegall Pass & the Markets. North Belfast: Ardoyne & Greater Ballysillan. East Belfast (EastSide): Newtownards Road, Grampian Avenue to Bridge End. West Belfast: Colin Area.

Project Status

The Urban Villages Initiative continues to invest in the five Urban Village areas by supporting organisations to develop projects and programmes aimed at improving people’s lives and creating thriving places.

  • 41 capital projects have been completed with an investment of nearly £11m to date, including a transformational project at the Colin Connect Transport Hub and Colin Town Square in West Belfast and other transformational projects underway.
  • From 2018/19 – 2019/20 – 70 community-led projects were supported with an investment of £3.31m to support good relations programmes and to help create thriving places across Urban Village areas.
  • Partnerships with departments, councils and ALBs are supporting cross cutting projects in all five Urban Village areas working with schools, training and employment, community tourism and other building capacity themes.
  • A €6m PEACE IV Programme investment managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and led by Action Mental Health is rolling out in Urban Village areas and Border Counties.  This is a project focused on developing the emotional resilience of children and young people and building positive relations through the Our Generation Programme.

The Urban Villages Initiative has developed Area Based Plans for each of the five Urban Village areas. These plans provide an update on the ‘state of play’, in terms of investment in people and places. The plans also reflect how public sector and community are working better together to support, connect and animate the Urban Village areas and how they are developing thriving places.

The five Strategic Frameworks, launched in 2016, are the foundation of the Programme and can be downloaded and viewed on The Executive Office website, along with the recently developed Area Based Plans which show investment and connectivity by area.

SIB Involvement

SIB continue to provide advisory and delivery expertise on a number of the strands of work in the programme including, the Capital Programme, the Strategic Project Development and the Strategic Communications and Engagement, as well as leading local teams in Derry~Londonderry and North Belfast

For further information contact:

E: info@urbanvillagesni.org

Twitter: Twitter @urbanvillagesni