East Belfast Set to Benefit from David Ervine Foundation’s Youth Bursaries

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In a bid to develop the skills of young people in Greater East Belfast whilst simultaneously developing projects that will benefit the area, the David Ervine Foundation, administered by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, is taking the innovative step of funding action research projects led by 20 to 30 year-old individuals living, working or involved in East Belfast through bursaries of up to £2,500 each.

The young people will produce action research on peacebuilding, conflict transformation or community development which will lead to the implementation of practical projects benefiting the East Belfast community. In turn, researchers will not only contribute to the well-being of the community but will also gain new employability skills, build personal development skills and become champions for the David Ervine Foundation, showcasing their research and outcomes at local level, with international opportunities.

Jackie Redpath, Chair of the David Ervine Foundation, said: “When it comes to East Belfast, research and community action go hand in hand. An academic background is not necessary and young people who have obtained a bursary from the David Ervine Foundation will receive support throughout their project through mentoring and sponsorship.

“What we require is a passion for East Belfast and a good idea that can translate into research and will benefit the community with effective implementation on the ground.

“This Bursaries Programme is a brand new initiative of the David Ervine Foundation. This is a great opportunity, which could include international travel, for young people who have an idea that might benefit their community, to research and develop it further and then to begin implementing it.”

The deadline for applications is 15th May 2014. Information on how to apply can be obtained from the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland via  http://www.communityfoundationni.org/Grants/David-Ervine-Foundation-Bursaries

Posted in Community Development, East Belfast, Press Release | Comments Off

Douglas Condemns Racist Attack

East Belfast DUP MLA Sammy Douglas has condemned the attack on three Eastern Europeans in the Lawnmount Street area by a gang armed with golf clubs.

Mr Douglas said “The racist thugs who carried out these attacks on innocent people are nothing but cowards. Their actions are sickening to the vast majority of decent people in east Belfast who are known for their warmth and friendliness and who simply want to get on with their neighbours”.

He continued “I appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the attack to contact the PSNI on the new non-emergency 101 number”.

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Douglas Expresses Concerns about ‘Supergrass’ Trials

DUP MLA Sammy Douglas has expressed concerns about the ongoing use of so-called ‘supergrass’ trials in Northern Ireland.

The East Belfast MLA said, ‘Our justice system requires public confidence in order to operate successfully and the use of so-called ‘supergrass’ trials has done much to undermine that confidence. In the past we have seen trials spectacularly collapse at a cost of many millions of pounds to the public purse. Trials were pursued on the basis of evidence that was so unreliable it is difficult to see how the prosecution could ever have been taken forward.

These trials were not seen in Northern Ireland from the 1980s until very recently and the evidence both then and now has not been positive in terms of securing reliable prosecutions or convictions.

It is right that such processes are questioned and particularly the role of the PPS in determining whether the evidence gathered by the police can be used to successfully secure a conviction. There does not appear to be any convincing case to make currently that the supergrass process is fit for purpose in this regard.’

Posted in Human Rights, Press Release | Comments Off

Assembly Community Connect Visits NI Environment Link

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Sammy Douglas MLA, chair of the NI Assembly Community Connect initiative, recently visited the Northern Ireland Environment Link based in Loopland Drive, East Belfast.

The programme aims to develop better links between the Assembly and the community and voluntary sector.

Mr Douglas said “I was very much impressed by the work of the Northern Ireland Environment link. The primary aim of NIEL is to promote environmental issues through influencing policy and developing partnerships.  One of the key outcomes of my visit was a joint determination to strengthen the links between MLAs and NIEL in order to create a better understanding of current environmental issues.”NIEL2

A free training event has been organised to provide a better understanding of how the NI Assembly works and how you can influence policies and decisions with a specific environmental focus. The event takes place on 5th March 2014 at NI Environment Link offices, 89 Loopland Drive.  Register your attendance here.

 

Posted in Assembly, Green, Press Release, Voluntary | Comments Off

Racist Abuse Directed at Anna Lo ‘Repugnant’

East Belfast DUP MLA Sammy Douglas has condemned the online racist abuse received by Alliance MLA Anna Lo over the past 24 hours.  Mr Douglas said, “the abusive remarks that I have seen on Facebook are repugnant and totally unacceptable in  democratic society.  I welcome the PSNI investigation into this abuse and trust that those responsible will face the full rigours of the law.”

Turning to the controversy over the call for flags and paramilitary murals glorifying gunmen to be removed from the route of this year’s Giro d’Italia he said, “as a result of my experience in mediation and conflict resolution over many years, I am convinced that the only way to resolve these issues is by discussion and dialogue with community leaders behind the scenes; by raising these issues in the public square, is counter productive and only drives people into a corner”.

He also revealed that many of the flags flying on lamp posts are put up by people who are loyalists but have no paramilitary links. “I don’t like to see tattered Union flags flying anywhere as it denigrates a symbol for which many of our family members and ancestors have fought and died in theatres of war over the years. But we should recognise that the biggest majority of flags in East Belfast have been taken down as a result of community dialogue.  There is a danger that racist abuse and political rows could overshadow the biggest sporting event ever to take place in Northern Ireland. With the world’s eyes on these shores for these three days in May, let’s show the positives that we have to offer.”

Posted in Arts, Assembly, East Belfast, Press Release | Comments Off