Belfast City council is inviting residents to have their say on the draft Good Relations Strategy for the city. The strategy has been developed to provide the framework for building better community and race relations during the period of the Belfast Agenda, which sets out a vision of the city in 2035.
The council states that the aim is to develop “A Shared City…delivering inclusive growth that leaves no one behind.”
The draft document places “Lack of integrated education and shared housing” top of the list of the biggest barriers to building better community and race relations in Belfast and says: “Some of the stresses which Belfast currently faces are … on-going community tensions in parts of the city, parallel service delivery… segregated education and housing…” “The persistence of segregation and separation in Belfast has left significant challenges for policy makers. The majority of children are still educated in religiously separated schools and the majority of people in social housing still live in divided communities…”
Work began on the strategy last summer and after a period of internal engagement and consultation with good relations experts, the council agreed at its January 2019 meeting to put the draft document out to public consultation for a 12-week period, opening on the 17 January.
The IEF is delighted that the strategy recognises the role the education system might play in uniting communities and creating a truly shared city. The consultation offers an opportunity to stress the widespread, cross-community support for integrated education and how integrated schools provide an exemplar of genuinely shared public service and public space.
The public is asked to take part in the consultation through an online form here.
There is also a series of public meetings where there will be more information on the council’s planned strategy and the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions. These will be held at:
Girdwood Community Hub, 21 February 2019 12.00 to 14.00
Belfast City Hall, 25 February 2019 18.30 to 20.00
Crescent Arts Centre, 26 Feb 2019 19.00 to 21.00
East Belfast Networking Centre, 4 Mar 2019 13.00 to 15.00
Colin Allotments Healthy Living Centre, 7 Mar 2019 12.00 to 14.0
Further information can be found on the Belfast City Council Website here.