Mobilising Change

Events within the North were beginning to change with the start of the Peace Process and this was matched by increasing commitment from the European Union to facilitate the development of peace through a major funding programme.

It was clear that a committed, organised campaigning community could take advantage of the new opportunities available to transform their community.

In August 1995 a number of small community groups working within the Upper Andersonstown area came together to consider how they could organise to take advantage of the changing external environment. Community Technical Aid facilitated the planning day on 29 August 1995 titled ‘Developing a Community Forum in Upper Andersonstown’.

The objectives for the Planning Day were:

  • Exchange information between groups on their history and development ideas
  • Identify common needs, issues, themes
  • Discuss benefit of working together
  • Agree principles and core feature of Community Forum
  • Identify issues and needs Forum should address
  • Agree the steps needed to establish Community Forum and Community Development Plan for Upper Andersonstown area

At the Planning Day the groups identified that the following principles would underpin the work of the Forum:

  • Confidentiality
  • Participation
  • Consultation
  • Representation
  • Respect
  • Accountability
  • Inclusiveness
  • Commitment

The groups present at the Planning Day agreed to constitute as a Community Forum. To meet the short term accommodation needs of the group it was agreed that the Forum would base itself at the Tullymore Gardens site. The building on the site was in a state of disrepair and the focus of a lot of anti-social activity. The feeling was that the site would act as a base to launch a campaign to improve the physical and environmental infrastructure of the area.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive was responsible for the leasing of the site.  The Forum decided to approach NIHE to obtain permission to use the centre as a base for the Forum.  There was agreement that the area needed a new purpose-built facility and that this would be the main objective of any community plan or strategy.