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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 a headline action of the Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC) Strategy. It 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.

  • Circa 50 capital projects completed to date. Approximately £25m has been invested across all five Urban Village areas, including a transformational project at the Colin Connect Transport Hub and Colin Town Square in West Belfast with other transformational projects underway, including the purchase of the Meenan Square site in Derry/ Londonderry Urban Village area. This was achieved as recently as April of this year (2023).
  • 70 community-led projects continue to be supported with an investment of £6m across the areas to support and enable good relations programmes and opportunities that can enable better engagement across communities to create thriving places across and between Urban Village areas. The community-led approach will draw to a close at the end of this financial year.
  • Partnerships with departments and councils continue to support cross cutting projects (projects that are impactful to more than one UV area) in all five Urban Village areas. This includes employability, working with schools, training, community tourism and other tailored capacity building opportunities.

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 developing thriving places.

Urban Villages Report card on Outcome Based Accountability now demonstrates;

  • 138,700 project participants
  • 1,065,498 event attendees
  • 4,236 activities delivered locally
  • 2,978 groups working collaboratively
  • 89% participants with improved cultural awareness

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 as well as leading local teams in Derry~Londonderry and North Belfast.

For further information contact:

E: info@urbanvillagesni.org

Twitter: Twitter @urbanvillagesni