Eastend Moville Community Association members experience life behind bars

Members of Eastend Movilla Community Association in Newtownards recently spent the day behind bars on a study visit to the historic Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast.

Eastend Moville Community Association members experience life behind bars

The 49-strong contingent experienced life on the inside as part of their ongoing activity with the EU PEACE III funded Building Relationships in Communities (bric) Programme.

The initiative is a unique partnership between the Rural Development Council, Housing Executive and Tides Training and aims to cultivate good relations across Northern Ireland.

The outing took members of the community association on a fascinating tour of the Victorian prison where they heard about the history of the building once dubbed ‘Europe's Alcatraz.’

As well as learning about some of the prison’s most well-known inmates including Eamon De Valera, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, the group were able to view the prisoners’ quarters and pay a visit to the condemned man’s cell before entering the infamous execution chamber.

The visit was made possible by the bric Programme and is just one of a series of over 80 bric initiatives aimed at building understanding and relationships in a variety of locations in the province.

Speaking at the event, Ian Cox, Chairperson of Eastend Movilla Community Association said:
“This visit has been a real learning experience for the group and we want to thank the bric Programme and Housing Executive for making it possible.
“Eastend Movilla Community Association is proud to be involved with the bric Programme and we have benefitted greatly from it. We are looking forward to continuing our work with it and hopefully undertaking an exciting re-imaging project in the coming months.

Kerry McIvor, BRIC Programme Manager, said:
“The bric Programme has enjoyed working with Eastend Movilla Community Association and seeing some really positive outcomes in the area.
 “Hopefully this visit has been educational, entertaining and insightful for the group and will further their progress within the bric Programme.
“Through our working partnership with the Housing Executive and Tides Training, the bric Programme is active throughout Northern Ireland and works to enhance community relations, improve the environment of local areas, and benefit local residents.”

Raj Thompson, Housing Executive Good Relations Officer, said:
“The Housing Executive is delighted to be associated with the bric Programme and the invaluable work it does to help empower local residents as they work to achieve their goals of creating neighbourliness and inclusiveness in all aspects of community life.
“Study and educational visits like this are just one essential element of the Programme and offer participants a fascinating insight into our shared history and the lessons that can be learned from it.”

Following their tour of the prison, members of the Community Association made their way to the Springfield Road in Belfast where they visited a bric Programme reimaging project at Sliabh Dubh.