Our Mission

The forum rapidly expanded as a service delivery organisation with the opening of the new community centre in 2000.

The project is designed to improve the quality of life and opportunities available to those living in a designated area of deprivation. The project does this by supporting the delivery of the following programmes:

Childcare projects

  • Youth Club
  • Jobs Education and Training Project
  • Essential Skills Training Programme
  • Steps to Work Programme
  • Volunteer Programme
  • Healthy Hearts Programme
  • Mental Health and Disability support programme
  • Senior Citizens Programme
  • Jobs, Education and Training programme
  • Childcare Early Years
  • Afterschool Project
  • Childcare to support those in training
  • Volunteer Projects
  • Job Assist Programme (West Belfast and Shankill Task Force on Unemployment)

Neighbourhood Renewal programme

We are also lead partner for the Neighbourhood Renewal programme, being tasked with the strategic implementation of the Programme in the wider Andersonstown area. We also play the role of lead partner for the Integrated Services programme for children, young people and their families.

We chair the Outer West Sure start programme for 0-3 year old designed to give them a positive start in terms of development and nurturing.

A high level of management, financial planning, monitoring and evaluation is required to ensure that all the projects and programmes are able to meet their targets and objectives while providing value for money.

In terms of impacts and outcomes the project targets both the individual and the community. The outcomes focus on increasing confidence, social cooperation, increasing the ability to avail of educational and training opportunities and strengthening family relationships. The outcomes for the community includes improved social cohesion and a reduction in anti-social behaviour, more involvement of children and young people in community life, user friendly services for young people, gains in skills and knowledge that increase employability, and improved opportunities for senior citizens to engage and participate in community life.

The Forum is at the forefront in tackling issues of social, economic and environmental deprivation. Our experience through neighbourhood consultation work has made us aware of the changing nature of deprivation over the last ten years within our estate. Deprivation tends to leave people marginalised and isolated from a wide variety of life opportunities within our estate. This is then reflected in the long term unemployment figures, lower educational achievement, poor health, fragmented community networks and anti-social behaviour. A key issue of concern for many local people is the inability of Public and Statutory Agencies to address these problems. This dissatisfaction acted as a catalyst for community activity and provided the basis to empower people to start to change their own environments. This in turn is creating new alliances between public bodies and local communities which we hope will result in further collaboration and greater opportunities for the Andersonstown neighbourhood.

The Outer West Sure start programme is a social economy project and it generates income from a variety of services.  All of this money is put back into the project to sustain 15 childcare jobs. We want to promote the value of these services to government departments as worthwhile investments for eradicating deprivation to government departments. We argue the case for the importance of the social profit created by the project and the benefits to government of their investment through improving educational, health, employment, and deprivation levels. We want to work with government to sustain improvements in the social, economic, community and physical infrastructure of the area and to determine how the project can best contribute to this.

Increasing the range of opportunities available to residents


  • Senior citizens group with opportunities for social activities and creative learning for the 60+ age group
  • Walking groups
  • Family support
  • Youth club


  • 40 employees
  • Steps to Work programme
  • Work Placements/experience, developed links/networks with local businesses to create opportunities

Learning and skills building

  • ICT computer training
  • Essential Skills Training
  • Personal Development Training
  • Stress Management
  • Forklift Driver Training
  • Door Supervisor Training
  • NVQ Childcare Training
  • Construction skills registration
  • Health and social care diploma
  • Wood Occupations
  • PSV license
  • Driving Theory
  • PSV Licence
  • Creative Arts & Crafts, traditional & digital
  • Physical Activities


The forum provides a wide range of volunteering opportunities that give local people the opportunity to play an active role in their community and to gain experience that will be useful in an employment context. We also work closely with local schools providing work experience placements for pupils.

Tackling Inequalities

The forum has worked to improve the physical environment by tackling a variety of inequalities that undermine the quality of life in the estate. We have worked to promote social inclusion and eradicate deprivation by increasing the opportunities and support available in the following areas;

  • Disability and Mental well being
  • Health (Healthy Hearts programme)
  • Children, young people and families
  • Housing
  • Employment, training, work experience

It is our belief that working in a coordinated strategic way with the community and other stakeholders is an effective approach for improving the quality of life for the residents. By offering a variety of services to the community we can begin to eradicate the inequalities which, over the years, have damaged the estate’s image and blighted the lives of the residents.

Transforming our environment

Over the years, housing has vastly improved for the local community residents, throughout the estate. In 1998-1999, the NI Housing Executive carried out high level improvements at the Rossnareen Road and Culmore Gardens area of Upper Andersonstown, during which 50 maisonettes and 4 flats were totally refurbished at a cost of almost £2m.

Gary Ballantyne, the West Belfast District Manager of NIHE said “This work represents a significant investment by the Housing Executive and underpins our continuing commitment to tenants in West Belfast.  The improvements carried out will ensure that residents are able to enjoy life to the full in a secure and private environment and in homes that are both modern and attractive. “We know that community involvement is an essential element of any scheme and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Upper Andersonstown Community Forum and Gerry Meehan in particular for all their help and co-operation in making this scheme such a success.”

Gerry Meehan from the Upper Andersonstown Community Forum added “The Housing Executive has to be congratulated for the work carried out in the area in recent years.  We worked closely with the District Office in the development of this scheme so it’s good to see at first hand the difference the improvements have made.

As with all large estates, graffiti and chewing gum are a continuing problem but the Forum is proactive with the community in arranging regular clean-ups and litter collections. There is also a continuing education in respect for our environment and an emphasis on pride of place running through all our community programmes provided by the Forum. This results in good community response and willingness to assist in looking after our built environment.