The interface at Springfield Road has long been a symbolism of community conflict and represents quite graphically the deep community divisions that the North of Ireland has become synonymous with. Despite this polarisation the area does have a history of cross-community work.
Forthspring Inter-community project is the coming together of four groups which have been striving to engage in cross-community work for many years on the Springfield Road. The four groups were Cornerstone Community, Currach Community, Mid-Springfield Community Association and Springfield Road Methodist Church.
The groups have worked together on a number of cross-community ventures, with a base at the Methodist Church and have had to cope with the adverse physical conditions which existed with the church premises.
The whole project is based on the concept of power sharing and the groups have committed themselves to an equal partnership in the management of the project. The group were extremely fortunate in securing a number of grants towards the development of the project, with the largest source of funding coming through the PSEPII funds. The money from this fund has been used towards the building of a new cross-community centre at the Methodist Church site. This new building hosts a worship sanctuary, with the front section being dedicated to community facilities including a drop-in centre and office space. The back of the centre will be used mainly for youth activities.
Building began at the site in January this year and the completion date is set for 11th July.
It is envisaged that the centre will open for use by September and a project co-ordinator has been appointed and taken up post, ensuring that all goes to plan.
The opening of the centre will see the continuation of existing cross-community programmes such as the Parents and Toddlers, Women's Groups, Luncheon Club, Youth Club etc as well as the development of new programmes.
With these new facilities it is hoped that the project will be
able to increase it's weekly client group of approximately 300
people to around 500 or 600, between the various activities.