Together: Building a United Community - (TBUC)

The 'Together: Building a United Community' (T:BUC) Strategy, published on 23 May 2013, reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.

Our commitment to building a united and shared society

You can download the 'Together: Building a United Community' Strategy via the link below:

The Section 75 equality screening form of the 'Together: Building a United Community' Strategy is available at the link below.

Key priorities

The strategy outlines how government, community and individuals will work together to build a united community and achieve change against the following key priorities:

  • our children and young people
  • our shared community
  • our safe community
  • our cultural expression

Each of the four key priorities also has a set of tangible and practical commitments.

Summer Camps Programme

On 15 April 2015, First Minister the Rt Hon Peter D. Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA announced the launch of a pilot programme of 100 summer camps for young people. This is one of the headline actions of the Together: Building a United Community Strategy published in May 2013.

Beginning in summer 2015, the programme provided a range of opportunities for young people aged 11 to 19 across Northern Ireland to come together  to build positive relationships across what have become divided parts of our community. The Camps are about challenging historic positions, encouraging debate and discussion and providing a way for young people to get to know each other, try new experiences, have fun and help to build longer term relationships. Camps must be delivered on a cross-community basis.

101 camps received funding in 2015/16, details of these camps can be found via the link below:

Summer Camps Pilot Programme 2015 – Evaluation

As part of the ongoing evaluation of the pilot year (2015) of the Summer Camps programme delivered as part of the 'Together: Building a United Community' Strategy a series of Shared Learning Forums were facilitated by OFMDFM (supported by the evaluator from SIB) as follows:-

  • Enniskillen – 1 October
  • Belfast – 6 October
  • Derry/Londonderry – 5 November
  • Newry – 10 November

Please see attached summary of the feedback from the Shared Learning Forums. 

Launch of Summer Camps Programme 2016-17

The Summer Camps Programme 16/17 is now open for applications and will close at 5.00pm on 19 April 2016

Successful applicants under the Summer Camps Programme 2016/17 will be required to deliver projects by 28 February 2017.

How to apply

The Guidance Notes, Application Form (MS Word and PDF versions) and a list of frequently asked questions are available to download via the links below:

Hard copies of these documents may be obtained from the Summer Camps Team

Summer Camps Information Workshops

A number of Information Workshops have recently been held to provide advice and guidance to organisations who are considering applying for funding under the Summer Camps Programme 2016/17. Along with the workshops a resource pack has been prepared. The document can be downloaded below:

Equality Impact Screening and Statement of Impact

The Section 75 Equality Screening Form of the Together: Building a United Community – Summer Camps Pilot Programme is available at the link below:

If you would like more information about Summer Camps Programme, please contact the Summer Camps Team.

Rural Impact Statement

It is intended that the Summer Camps Programme would have a positive impact on young people living in both urban and rural areas. In order to rural proof this policy, we have developed a Rural Impact Statement for the programme, which can be viewed via the link below:

United Youth Programme

For our children and young people, we will create 10,000 one year placements in a new 'United Youth' programme.

The programme is designed to give young people who are not in education, employment or training the opportunity to take part in work experience, volunteering and leisure opportunities ,while focusing on good relations and building relationships between divided communities.

United Youth Design Day

In January 2014, the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister held a 'Design Day' in Belfast to shape the new United Youth Programme. The First Minister the Rt Hon Peter D. Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA launched the event, meeting over 250 participants including young people and youth organisations who came together to create the new personal development and employability opportunities for young people.

You can view the news release and evaluation report on the 'Design Day' at the links below.

Review of Good Relations Funding delivery

Future funding arrangements must be both strategic and flexible to respond to the differing levels of capacity amongst organisations working to build a united community.

Through the implementation of the Together: Building a United Community Strategy, we will ensure that funding is directed in a way that secures sustainability of the infrastructure that has been established at a local level and that continues to develop the capacity of individuals and organisations working to build good relations across our society.  

Throughout the review of good relations funding delivery process a number of events have been held and an evaluation of the events was carried out.You can view the evaluation report at the link below.

Contested Space/Interface Programme

The Contested Space/Interface Programme was launched in March 2011 and jointly funded by OFMDFM and Atlantic Philanthropies. The budget was £4 million and its key aim was to promote and improve relations between and across disadvantaged communities. Nine projects were funded across Northern Ireland, in urban and rural areas through two phases. During the course of the programme some 16,257 distinct participants were involved ranging across: nursery and pre-school children; primary and post primary pupils; young adults; parents; teaching staff, governors and management committees.

Central Good Relations Funding Programme

The Central Good Relations Funding Programme supports the achievement of the Executive’s strategic objectives relating to good relations.

Aim of the Central Good Relations Fund

The Fund supports productive, time bound projects which contribute to the promotion of good relations and to building a united and shared community.  The programme will support productive time bound projects which contribute to the promotion of good relations.  The Central Good Relations Fund is a small central scheme designed to distribute funding in year.  The fund does not and will not replace mainstream core or project funding.

Ministerial priorities aimed at building a united, shared and reconciled community are identified in the good relations strategy, Together: Building a United Community, published on 23 May 2013.

You can access the strategy document below:

Application process

The Central Good Relations Fund Programme 2016/17 is now open for Project Funding applications and will close at 2.00pm on 21 March 2016. 

The application process for small grants remains open throughout the year.

Successful applicants under the 2016/17 Funding Programme will be required to deliver projects by 31 March 2017.

How to apply

The Guidance Notes, Application Form (MS Word and PDF versions) and a list of frequently asked questions are available to download via the links below:

Hard copies of these documents may be obtained from the Central Good Relations Funding Programme.

Deadline for applications

Please refer to the information below for application deadlines for project funding and small grants funding.

Funding for 2015/16

  • Project Funding 

Project funding applications closed on 21 March 2016

  • Small Grants

Deadline for applications - open throughout 2016/17

Contact the Central Good Relations Fund team

You can contact OFMDFM for any queries in relation to the funding programme via the Central Good Relations Funding Programme.

District Councils Good Relations Programme

The Good Relations Funding and Delivery Branch provides funding to District Councils to deliver the District Council Good Relations Programme, whichhas been developed to support local community relations initiatives. All 11 District Councils currently participate in the Programme, employing at least one Good Relations officer to manage and deliver community relations initiatives locally.

For details of the Community Relations programme in your area you should contact the Good Relations Officer in your local Council. Contacts for local councils can be found on the nidirect website.

Community Relations Council

The Community Relations Council is an independent body. It is the main channel for government funding and has become an established centre of expertise on community relations in Northern Ireland, co-ordinating and advising voluntary community relations groups. We provide financial assistance to the Community Relations Council.

For more information visit the Community Relations Council website.

An evaluation of the Community Relations Council’s Core Funding Programme was commissioned by the Community Relations Unit (CRU) of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and carried out by the Equality Directorate Research Branch of OFMDFM. It was completed in December 2005. Access the document below:

A Shared Future - Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland

A Shared Future - Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland was published on Monday 21 March 2005.

If you would like to download a copy of the A Shared Future report please view the links below:

Alternatively if you would like a hard copy please use the contact details below:

Email: csi@ofmdfmni.gov.uk.
Telephone: 028 9052 23182

Good Relations Panel

In A Shared Future, Government made a public commitment to the establishment of a Good Relations Panel.

This cross-departmental group, chaired by the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and supported by officials in OFMDFM, will report to Ministers. The panel which is made up of senior representatives from key departments, representatives from local government, the Housing Executive, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Equality Commission and the Community Relations Council will harness actions across government.

The responsibilities of the Panel include:

  • co-ordinate long-term actions
  • advise on targeting of resources
  • monitor outcomes
  • develop the actions/priority areas
  • provide joined up coherent action to promote relationship building
  • prepare the Triennial Action Plan underpinned by Section 75
  • establishing a mechanism to involve, on an on-going basis, wider civic society in shaping a triennial action plan

List of publications, speeches and consultations

A number of reports, consultations and speeches have been published relating to the A Shared Future Policy. Please see below link to download the list of documents available.

If you would like to receive an electronic or hard copy of any report listed please use the contact information below:

Email: webupdatesEIS.OFMDFM@ofmdfmni.gov.uk.
Telephone: 028 9037 8201.