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Lord Street reimaging underway

Published: Tue, 28 Jul 2015
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Blaze FX artists Ken and Glenn, who are reimaging nine murals in East Belfast
Lord Street
Work has started on a major reimaging project in East Belfast which will see nine paramilitary murals removed and redesigned in the Lord Street area of the city.
Charter NI, an independent think tank devoted to studying the causes of conflict at a community level in Northern Ireland, secured £30,000 funding from our Community Cohesion budget to oversee the project.  
We work to support local communities remove the outward symbols of sectarianism through the medium of art. Our vision is one in which housing plays its part in creating a peaceful, inclusive, prosperous and fair society.
Our work, however, is about more than bricks and mortar and this is reflected in the work of the Community Cohesion team, which strives to improve neighbourhoods and to provide people with more opportunities for a better quality of life.
The Lord Street reimaging project forms part of a wider regeneration strategy for the area called The Diamond Project, which includes plans to bring empty social housing back into use and develop an environmental scheme alongside the Housing Executive, Charter NI and other organisations.
The theme of the new art pieces has been agreed in partnership with ourself and the local community. Artists from Blaze FX are expected to complete the project in the next few weeks.
Deirdre Crawford, Our Cohesion Manager, said: “The start of this project is significant for the local area and the feedback has been very positive. The community is pleased that this work is now taking place after a long consultation process and they would like to see more plans in progress. This activity is all part of a wider process which has been taking place for several years to change hearts and minds. It is about moving forwards and embracing peace.”
Gary Ballantyne, our South and East Belfast Area Manager, said: “The Diamond Project has been set up by Belfast City Council to try to engage with a community that has been disengaged from organisations including our own. Our aim is to improve housing, but as you can see from the reimaging our work is about much more than just that alone. Already through the Diamond Project several ground maintenance schemes have been completed and we are considering the future physical regeneration of the area at Constance Street.”
Dee Stitt, Chief Executive of Charter NI, said: “The beginning of this work signals a step forward for the local community and it brings to fruition the positive results of many years of dialogue and conversation. Our organisation works to enable, equip and empower disconnected communities across Belfast and the reimaging work in the Lord Street area will play a crucial role in that.”