The Cross Border Womens Collective
20 July 2011
Monday 18th July 2011 was an important day for three community groups, namely Atlantic View Community Development Partnership in Ballyshannon, Ballybeen Women’s Centre and Ardmonagh Community & Family Centre in Belfast as they approach the end of their joint Cross Border Womens Collective project at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. The event was a celebration of the project’s success to date and officially launched a DVD produced by the project participants. A ten minute trailer of the film ‘The Women’s Story’ was shown to participants on the day to give a glimpse of their lives before, during and after the Troubles.
Over the past eighteen months the three groups have been working together to deliver a number of courses and activities which saw women from Unionist, Nationalist and cross border backgrounds come together to develop a better sense of understanding of each other and how they can move forward to achieve a peaceful and brighter future.
In order to improve individual and community confidence, a range of workshops were held to develop the women’s skills in preparation for the making of the DVD, notably public speaking skills, interviewing techniques and video editing. The main purpose of the DVD was to tell the story of the Cross Border Women’s Collective and the impact its work had on changing women’s attitudes and perceptions of each other on both a cross border and cross community basis. In addition, small groups of women from the three partner areas have arranged visits to other groups including politicians, youth groups and residents associations etc. to show the DVD and tell ‘The Story’.
The partnership project received financial assistance of almost €36k through the Integrating Community Organisations Programme which is managed by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (RDC) and funded by the International Fund for Ireland (the Fund).
Attending the event and speaking on behalf of the Fund’s Agent, the RDC, Mr Martin McDonald, Chief Executive said ‘The Cross Border Womens Collective’ project has been supported through the Programme which is designed to help community organisations to co-operate on a cross community basis. The project fits very well with the ethos of the Integrating Communities Organisations Programme and I have no doubt that the local communities will reap the benefits and opportunities accruing from this for many years to come. The Fund could not pursue its aims and objectives without committed individuals and communities like Atlantic View Community Development Partnership, Ballybeen Women’s Centre and Ardmonagh Community & Family Centre. Ultimately, it is the vision, enthusiasm and commitment of funded organisations which helps to secure successful outcomes.”
Speaking on behalf of the ‘Cross Border Womens Collective’ project, the Project Co-ordinators Ann McGowan from Ballyshannon, Anne Walker and Lily McGeough from Ballybeen and Ardmonagh in Belfast, respectively, gave an overview of the project and said: “We are grateful for the IFI funding, it allowed us to work closely with each other and bring together many people who would never previously have gone into each others neighbourhoods or across the border. We believe there is now greater confidence and willingness to continue moving forward towards a more integrated society. This Project has allowed people to see that there are more similarities than differences between the two communities and across the border.”