Date: 28/02/2013

Press Release February 27 2013: Ashton Launch 2013 North Belfast Respect Programme

An exciting programme aimed at encouraging and stimulating conversation around key issues is being launched tomorrow by North Belfast award winning charity Ashton Community Trust.

Tackling hard issues head on and respectfully engaging in debate represents a core theme of this year’s North Belfast Respect Programme.

The Respect programme, being launched tomorrow (Thursday February 28 at 10am) in NICVA Duncairn Gardens, will run throughout the month of March and will focus on issues such as transitional justice and conflict transformation, rights and discrimination, socio-economic deficits as well as health and well being inequalities. Our aim is to encourage positive debate and reflection on all of these key issues.

The full programme is available to download on Ashton’s websitewww.ashtoncentre.com; Facebook (search for North Respect) and updates will be posted on Twitter @NBRespect.

The programme in NICVA is being launched by Junior Minister Jennifer McCann. Commissioner for Victims and Survivors Kathryn Stone OBE and Dr Duncan Morrow from the University of Ulster will also help to launch the programme.

There are 29 events in total taking place during the Respect Programme with four headline events taking place during each of the 4 weeks of March. Each week has a theme: Dealing with the Past/Looking To the Future; Tackling Discrimination; Tackling Poverty and Health. Integrated throughout the programme are important ‘good news’ events showcasing the progressive nature of North Belfast and its schemes that are working hard to make a difference in communities that need interventions the most.

Chief Executive of Ashton Community Trust Paul Roberts said he hoped that the programme would help to highlight the positives of North Belfast as well as addressing long term areas of need.

“I believe that this programme tackles some of the most pressing and important issues facing North Belfast today such as social and economic deprivation in working class areas, life and health inequalities, sectarianism and the legacy of the conflict.

“We hope that by stimulating debate and conversations we can add further progress to the already sterling work that is going on in North Belfast, mostly quietly behind the scenes.

“I am delighted with the content of this year’s programme which involves a wide range of activities such as conferences, public debates, digital technological learning sessions, mural unveilings, and cultural celebrations.

“The credibility of the Respect Programme is growing year on year and this is evidenced by the calibre of the speakers we have confirmed for events.

“Above all we hope that local people will get involved, and get engaged. We also want to show how groups in the community sector as well as the statutory agencies are working in partnership together to improve life for local residents.”

The programme is funded under the Strategic Grants element of the Belfast Peace III 2011-2013 supported by the European Unions European Regional Development Fund and the OFMDFM North Belfast Strategic Good RelationsProgramme.

Ends

2013 North Belfast Respect Programme Highlights

On March 4 the headline event will examine the legacy of the past and what implications are for victims and survivors of the conflict. Speakers: Lord Robin Eames co chair Consultative Group on the Past, Bill Rolston Director of Transitional Justice Institute (TJI), Victims Commissioner Kathryn Stone and TJI Associate Eilish Rooney are the guest panel speakers at this event in Belfast Castle.

The second major headline event takes place on March 11 in NICVA and addresses the issue of sectarianism in North Belfast.

The third headline event takes place on March 20 and focuses on deprivation issues facing working class communities.

The fourth headline event is a major event looking at the health inequalities that exist across the rich and poor areas of Belfast.  The workshop will not only highlight these inequalities but also make earnest efforts to map out the way forward. The Transforming Health Inequalities: Releasing Community and Agency Capacity workshop takes places on March 26 in the Ulster Hall.

Notes to Editors: For more information please contact Paul O’Neill at Ashton on 028 9074 2255 or Irene Sherry 028 90746737 mobile 07980 006585.