Community Work Sets an Example; EU Cash Helps Fermanagh Improve Its Economic and Social Development

Article excerpt

Byline: ANN PALMER

THE community development achievement of Irvinestown Community Partnership has been recognised across the Province as a template of good practice for rural areas.

Without European Union cash, such remarkable progress might not have been made.

Community development office Jenny Irvine said that the EU money had been a catalyst for initiatives affecting economic and social development.

Representatives from 46 organisations have visited the Fermanagh town since work began on Northern Ireland's first Healthy Living Centre project just over six months ago.

Irvinestown reflects a microcosm of life in Northern Ireland with areas of advantage and severe deprivation which display a range of economic, social and health care issues pertinent to this rural location.

Mrs Irvine said that the community development ethos in Irvinestown dated back to 1908 and had helped the culture of progressive representative com- munity activism to evolve.

"The EU programmes harnessed this spirit of enterprise and equity and facilitated the establishment of Irvinestown Community Partnership, one of the most pro- active and dynamic community-based initiatives in Northern Ireland."

The partnership is an umbrella organisation for almost 40 voluntary and community groups in north Fermanagh and its focus is on promoting communication and co-operation at a local level.

The work of the people in the community developing and creating new ideas and solutions to rural, economic and social problems, was an excellent example of social entrepreneurship, said Mrs Irvine. …