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Representatives from 18 Belfast-based grassroots arts organisations – host to approximately 450 artists – will gather at Belfast City Hall today to request emergency intervention from Belfast City Council City Growth and Regeneration Committee members in the face of rampant redevelopment that they claim threaten their spaces and livelihoods. 

A delegation of more than 100 individual and group members attended the 10th anniversary conference of the Stronger Together network at The Junction in Dungannon last week. Stronger Together is the regional interethnic cross-sectoral network for all those working to achieve racial equality and to eradicate racism in Northern Ireland. The theme for the conference was ‘The Journey’ – which looked at how far the network had come and to discuss the future direction of travel of the network and society in general. Stronger Together has been funded primarily by the Public Health Agency with project work in Mental Health…

The milestone comes as the Trust celebrates its 125th anniversary of protecting and caring for places so people and nature can thrive, and where everyone is welcome. Membership numbers in Northern Ireland have nearly doubled in the past ten years from 52,000 members in 2010 to over 100,000 in 2020, over five percent of the entire Northern Ireland population. Family group (two adults and their children or grandchildren), joint (two adults) and joint pensioner (two adults, senior concession) are the three most popular membership types in Northern Ireland. Free access to the charity’s houses, gardens, UNESCO World heritage sites and 108…

Kelly Andrews, Chief Executive of Belfast-Lisburn Women’s Aid By VIEW editor Brian Pelan Professionals and practitioners will gather today at Titanic Belfast to reflect progress in tackling domestic violence in Northern Ireland. The conference, facilitated by Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid, invites a number of high profilespeakers including the new Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales and practitioners from across the legal and housing sectors. Domestic violence is a serious crime and takes many forms, including physical and sexual abuse, as well as controlling and coercive behaviour. In 2018/19 the PSNI responded to over 31,000 incidents of domestic violence,…

By Michael Kenwood Belfast Councillors have given the go ahead for the controversial Cathedral Quarter Tribeca plan, the largest regeneration plan the city has seen in a generation.  The council planning committee last night voted unanimously by 10 votes to four to green light the £500m urban regeneration scheme. Sinn Fein, DUP, UUP and Alliance voted together to see the plan through, while the Greens, SDLP and People Before Profit voted against the scheme. The public gallery was packed over the three hour committee meeting, and a woman was asked to leave as she voiced her concerns during councillor’s questions. The…

By Sarah Bell and Una Murphy The first Climate Commission on the island of Ireland has been set up by Belfast City Council, Queens University and the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN). Councillor Daniel Baker, Belfast’s new Lord Mayor, said: “We have an obligation to protect the generations behind us and our youth don’t want fancy speeches, they want action. Our demands are most modest; we only want the earth.” Professor John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen’s University, and the co-chair of the Commission said: “We have come to the party late. We must address the reality…

Local government and its partners are leading the way in Northern Ireland through partnership working and collaboration in the delivery of community plans, according to the Carnegie UK Trust. The Carnegie UK Trust (CUKT) is an organisation with global influence whose aim is to improve wellbeing across the UK and Ireland. The Trust played a central role in the incorporation of wellbeing at the heart of the draft Programme for Government in Northern Ireland, and is now supporting local councils and their partners with embedding wellbeing at a local government level. The reform of local government in 2014 saw the…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan On my way last night to a photography exhibition in Belfast about homelessness I passed several people along the way who were lying on the streets of our city centre. The irony wasn’t lost on me. The event, organised by the Belfast-based Westcourt Camera Club, was held in conjunction with the Westcourt Centre for Homelessness Awareness Week 2019. The black and white images on the wall at the Artcetera Studio in Rosemary Street (taken by documentary photographer John Bolloten who is based in Bradford, UK) were stark, visceral and compelling. They portray people’s lives caught…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan A new think tank in Northern Ireland has called for big changes in policy to address serious social issues. Pivotal, headed up by former civil servant Ann Watt, says it will act “only in the public interest’. The group’s initial financial backers include the Irish government, along with Belfast Harbour, NICVA, The Community Foundation, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Queen’s University and Ulster University. Ms Watt, who was the head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland, said that Pivotal will not have a position regarding the constitutional question in Northern Ireland. She also said…

By Una Murphy TWO men who have spearheaded the ‘Preston Model’ of promoting growth in the local economy have paid a visit to Belfast to advise on community wealth building. With 28 per cent of children in Belfast growing up in poverty and more than 56,000 residents in the city living in poverty, the local council has developed plans to boost an inclusive economy to tackle deprivation and “connect all residents with economic growth”. Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council and Derek Whyte, who has just stepped down from the council and is now an independent policy adviser, spoke to…

By VIEWdigital co-founder Una Murphy Health Inequalities still matter was the message from the recent 25th Annual General Meeting of the Community Development Health Network (CDHN)  in Belfast. Professor Jennie Popay from Lancaster University told delegates at Crumlin Road Gaol: “If we want to achieve health equity, we need to put power back at the centre of communities.” She said that “peoples’ lived experiences” must be listened to in order to reduce health inequalities. It was a matter of social justice, Professor Popay added. Speaking to VIEWdigital she added that too much blame was now placed on individuals for smoking and…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan Universal Credit should be perhaps renamed Universal Misery given the countless stories of those severely impacted since its introduction in the United Kingdom. A recent article in the Guardian newspaper showed that more than a million households on universal credit and 60 per cent of them are having their benefits cut to repay debts and loans. The deductions have forced many claimants to turn to food banks. One young woman told VIEWdigital about her frustrating experience going onto Universal Credit herself. Joanne (not her real name) helps advise people about a range of issue, including…

16 Days of action and activism across Northern Ireland Women’s Aid across Northern Ireland are supporting a global campaign which is demanding action on ending violence against women and girls. The 16 days of Action on Violence Against Women and Girls, which started last Monday and will continue to December 10 ending on Human Rights Day, highlighting that violence against women is a violation of human rights. Throughout the 16 days, Women’s Aid are campaigning to end violence against women and girls and raising awareness of the vital frontline and specialised services that are delivered 365 days a year across…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan A leading welfare rights advisor has urged the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Julian Smith to introduce urgent legislation to avoid a looming crisis of child poverty, hunger and mass evictions. Kevin Higgins, Advice NI and member of the Welfare Reform Mitigations Working Group, added: “We have a mitigation package which has sheltered people from the harshest impacts of welfare reform, impacts that are disproportionately greater in Northern Ireland than anywhere else as evidenced by the recent Commons Joint Committee report. “We have inadequate, segregated social housing; we have higher rates of disability; we have…

For our final Communicate Your Story! event of 2019, VIEWdigital will host a workshop with our readers at Ormeau Baths, Belfast to find out more about what stories they want us to cover in 2020 and invite them for a festive drink! Take time out from BREXIT blues and General Election hype to support independent journalism on social justice issues and social affairs. The VIEWdigital team also wants to tell readers about our big plans for 2020. COMMUNICATE YOUR STORY!, Ormeau Baths, Belfast, Monday, December 9 – From 2pm to 4pm To find out more contact Una Murphy, publisher VIEWdigital…

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