Winner: Clarawood Estate, Belfast
Winner of category ThirteenThe Oak Partnership is a partnership of faith-based organisations situated in the Clarawood Estate in East Belfast. Its purpose is to develop a place of hope, equality and opportunity within the estate, where through Christ’s love and practical action, people will find support and encouragement to reach their full social, spiritual and intellectual potential.
Approximately twelve years ago, following community consultation, the Partnership refurbished a unit located centrally in the Estate and rented this from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Programmes delivered from this unit include an afterschool’s club, a women’s group, a drop-in facility and youth activities for both primary school children and teenagers, and an arts and crafts club, providing a social outlet for various age groups within the estate. The Management Committee comprises representatives from partner organisations and residents. Volunteers have been recruited from the partner organisations over the years and residents of all ages have also volunteered within the Partnership.
Judges’ Citation
The group that underpins this community has shown a marvellous resilience in the face of hostility. This is a faith based organisation, whose purpose is to develop within the 700 house estate a community of hope, equality and opportunity. Despite adverse local circumstances it continues to strive to encourage the local residents to reach their full potential socially and intellectually. The financial support received from the statutory agencies is uncertain and therefore the financial resources are under ongoing pressure. Despite this their message for the future is “We are here to stay”. The judges salute the The Oak Partnership – they are making a real difference.