Shared future housing - about the Shared Neighbourhood Programme
Updated: 06 Mar 2014
We believe that supporting and encouraging neighbourhoods where everyone in the community is valued and respected and where diversity is celebrated is fundamental to building lasting peace and a stable society in Northern Ireland.
In the Good Friday Agreement, it was envisaged that people should be able to choose where they wanted to live without intimidation. At that time 90% of NI estates were segregated on religious grounds, however the vast majority of people in the Life and Times survey expressed the view that they wished to live in mixed communities. It was in response to this desire by the community that we developed the Shared Future Housing Programme
The central purpose of this programme is to develop neighbourhoods where people choose to live with others regardless of their religion or race, in a neighbourhood that is safe and welcoming to all, and threatening to no-one. We also aim to support and protect existing areas where people of different backgrounds live together.
The first mixed community social housing scheme in Northern Ireland in a generation was launched in County Fermanagh in 2006. 20 families on Carran Crescent outside Enniskillen signed up to a charter for their community and no more than 70% of any one religion is allowed.
The Housing Executive has adopted a twin track approach to developing shared areas; firstly through the social newbuild programme and secondly through existing housing areas. This programme will focus on existing housing areas.
We currently have plans in place for an expansion of Shared Future newbuild schemes as well as an extensive Shared Neighbourhood Programme for existing estates.
The Shared Neighbourhood Programme
The second strand to delivering shared housing is through the Shared Neighbourhood Programme. This programme works with existing communities to develop shared neighbourhoods. It provides grants to enable community organisations to celebrate diversity and bring together people, from all backgrounds, who live in these areas. We provide training and practical on-the-ground support via a dedicated team of advisers.
In addition to grants to run cultural awareness and community events, participating communities benefit from community relations training, community consultations and support to design their own neighbourhood charter and deliver their own good relations programme
Several housing areas across Northern Ireland have already committed to participating in this programme, including Springfarm in Antrim, Lissize in Rathfriland, Knockmore/Tonagh in Lisburn, Gortview/Killybrack Close in Omagh and Ballynafeigh in Belfast. It is anticipated that many more areas will become involved in the coming years.