Groundwork is a federation of more than 40 independent not-for-profit trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The first Groundwork Trust was established on Merseyside in 1981 in response to the Toxteth riots. There are now 50 Trusts in the UK and a number of Groundwork projects in Europe, Japan and the USA.
Groundwork Northern Ireland focuses on delivering environmental improvements in areas of need throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. They use local environmental action to engage with and motivate people to improve their quality of life. The organisation therefore works for social, economic and environmental regeneration; creating a base for prosperous, peaceful coexistence.
Bonfire Management Programme
The annual bonfires in Northern Ireland can be a flashpoint for sectarian conflict. By working with local communities, this initiative aims to ensure the bonfires are as safe, inclusive, and environmentally friendly as possible.
The bonfire management programme involves Belfast City Council, Community Relations Council and Protestant communities to encourage safer and cleaner bonfire sites during the Twelfth of July celebrations. The programme also aims to raise cultural awareness by enabling participating communities to organise festival activities and to participate in cultural discussions.
In addition to protecting the environment and participants and people who live nearby bonfire sites, the programme aims to engage people in cross-community dialogue on cultural issues. In Northern Ireland, bonfires are seen as part of the Protestant culture, and have triggered tensions and violence during the summer time. Ensuring that they are safe and well understood will contribute to peace and stability in Northern Ireland.
Groundwork’s Annual Review 2008-09 (pdf) provides further details on their work, as well as their strategic plans for the period up to 2012.