Duncairn Community Partnership. Intercomm Building, 290-292 Antrim Road, Belfast. Telephone 90352165. Email: info@duncairn.com

The CitySide Initiative  

  “Both communities are working endlessly and tirelessly to promote CitySide as a neutral shared complex, family friendly and free from the shackles of sectarianism"

"This has had a significant positive impact in developing a business/community partnership to work with people in the community" 

"The businesses can clearly recognise the difference.”

Michael Langston, CitySide Manager

One of the most explosive interfaces in North Belfast has been transformed by a community relations initiative developed following threats to local businesses. 

Rioting, vandalism and theft were at one time a daily occurrence at the Cityside retail mall. At its height in 2008 there were 66 nights of sustained violence over a three month period leaving people from both communities and beyond, afraid to access this complex.

The PSNI, North Belfast Community Development & Transition Group, North Belfast Interface Network and Intercomm developed a cross community partnership back in 2008 as a response to address this problem. This was successful and later these groups launched a report, compiled by the Institute of Conflict Research, on the Cityside Initiative.

This initiative has been hailed by politicians, businesses, the PSNI and community leaders as a blueprint for tackling sectarian hotspots. Not only have community relations improved and sectarian violence significantly reduced, business is booming at the retail park. Despite economic recession, new retail outlets have opened and customer numbers have increased dramatically. Car parking space is now a significant problem, with spaces at a premium during busy periods! 

The trust and generosity generated in this work among key partners is now being further developed across local communities through investment in relationship building, dialogue and co-operation.  The CITYSIDE process has laid the foundations and established the new norms and protocols to deal collaboratively with issues on community safety and managing the potential for interface conflict. This success of this project planted the seeds for the development of Duncairn Community Partnership. 

 “In 2008 interface workers and Police would be out 60 or 70 nights at the interface in Queen Street, the following year there were were only six incidents. This is a highly significant statistic. It has demonstrated that the multi-agency partnership approach has been able to deliver. I talk about the ‘three Es’ - engagement, education and lastly enforcement. The latter in itself is not the solution as it potentially creates a difficulty for those on the receiving end to move forward. The Cityside Community Engagement Initiative has demonstrated the effectiveness of engagement and education”.  Muir Clarke Chief Inspector PSNI