The Funding Manager presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated. He advised that the purpose of the report was to seek Members’ views on the 1st Draft of Council’s Corporate Response to SEUPB’s consultation on the new PEACE Plus Programme 2021-2027.
Councillor Mellon sought clarification in respect of the new cross-border EU funding and work carried out in regards to the provision of new shared spaces and services and enquired as to the possibility of this being broken down within the peace programme.
In regards to the Thematic focus: Peace-building activities, Councillor Mellon referred to the issues of access to quality education and queried why this was ranked as 4 and not 7 given its relevance and the current focus on skills building within the Community Plan. She also queried if marginalisation through improved housing and services should not be scored as a higher priority than 5, given the economic impact thereof.
The Funding Manager pointed out that the new programme represented an exciting opportunity to continue to fund peace building interventions alongside activities which would help to make the region a more prosperous, healthier place to live through funding areas of mutual interest on a cross border basis
The Funding Manager explained that the focus and order or priority were agreed by SEUPB. He explained that housing was a significant and increasing issue particularly in regards to welfare reform and the possible implementation of the bedroom tax which would require continuous monitoring.
He further explained that building strong, resilient and cohesive communities was at the core of Council’s vision and the community plan and these were the cornerstone of effective peace and reconciliation projects.
Continuing, he explained that the eligible criteria of recipients would probably remain unchanged. He acknowledged that some important issues did require change which he would be willing to include in Council’s corporate response. He pointed out that education was similar to housing and had a significant budget allocation and it was a matter for Council to suggest any additional needs required in this area in terms of receiving additional funding in terms of the overall needs of the area.
Councillor Mellon pointed out that statutory bodies were only responsible for the delivery of curriculum based education and not skills based education, which was becoming more apparent through modern living styles.
Subsequently, the Committee
Recommended that Council adopt the initial 1st draft corporate response to SEUPB’s consultation on the new PEACE Plus Programme 2021-2027.