PEACEPLUS programme

PEACE PLUS Guidance Notes

Open Call for Social Partners for the Mid and East Antrim PEACE PLUS Partnership

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is currently establishing a new PEACE PLUS Partnership for the new PEACEP LUS Programme 2022-2027 for the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area.  The PEACE PLUS Partnership will oversee the design and implementation of a co-designed overarching PEACE PLUS Action Plan for our area.

As part of this process, we would like to recruit 11 social partner representatives who live or work within the council area and can represent the various geographies of our area or different sectors, target groups, local communities, underrepresented groups and PEACE PLUS target groups from across our council area.

We would like to achieve a balanced and representative PEACE PLUS Partnership and welcome applications from a wide range of individuals.  Those with and without previous experience of PEACE programmes are welcome to apply.

This pack gives you background information about the PEACE PLUS Programme, what we mean by a social partner and our social partner application process.

Completed application forms including the monitoring form should be retuned via email to peace@midandeastantrim.gov.uk.  Alternatively they can be returned to the Council at the following address Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, The Braid, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ in a sealed envelope clearly marked on the outside ‘PEACE PLUS Social Partner Application’ no later than 12 noon on Monday 20 June 2022.

To ensure confidentiality, please place in a separate envelope the Equal Opportunity Monitoring Questionnaire marked ‘SP PEACE PLUS Monitoring Officer’, seal the envelope and enclose it with your application form.

Late submissions cannot be accepted.

For more information, please contact Patricia Brennan at: peace@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

A public information online meeting about the PEACE PLUS social partner recruitment process will take place on Wednesday 8 June 2022 at 6pm via zoom.  Please register by e-mail: peace@midandeastantrim.gov.uk  and a link will be sent to you.

The first PEACE PLUS Partnership meeting will take place on Tuesday 28 June 2022 at 12.30 pm (venue to be confirmed).

Documentation relating to this process can be requested in accessible formats by emailing:  peace@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

What is PEACE PLUS?

PEACE PLUS is a new a €1.14bn European Union funding programme designed to support peace and prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland, building upon the work of the previous PEACE and INTERREG Programmes. The design reflects the importance of peace-building activity, but also the importance of actions that will contribute positively to the economy, building prosperity and adjusting to the new environment and challenges we face. The PEACE PLUS Programme represents investment in the social, economic and environmental development of Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.

The PEACE PLUS programme comprises six themes, which include 21 individual investment areas as outlined in Fig 1 and approved by the NI Executive, Irish Government and North South Ministerial Council.

Councils will develop and deliver PEACE PLUS co-designed Action Plans under Theme 1 – Building Peaceful and Thriving Communities – Investment Area 1.1 - Co-designed Local Community PEACE PLUS Action Plans against which €110m has been allocated across the 17 council areas in Northern Ireland and the six border counties.  

Co-designed PEACE PLUS Action Plans will be produced for each of the 17 local council areas across the Programme area. These will be devised to complement community planning structures and plans. A Co-designed approach enables groups which represent different communities of interest from defined areas, to collaboratively design projects tailored to meet the challenges and opportunities specific to that area. 

The PEACE PLUS Action Plan will enable diverse partnerships to establish and invest in key actions for their local areas and collectively address these in a manner which will result in improved, shared and inclusive local services, facilities and spaces, and make a significant and lasting contribution to peace and reconciliation. The co-design process itself should enable cross community engagement and collaboration.

The Thematic Strands within the PEACE PLUS Partnership Action Plan under Theme 1.1

Three thematic strands have been selected upon which to design the content of the PEACE PLUS Action Plans. These are:

  1. Local community regeneration and transformation 
  2. Thriving and peaceful communities
  3. Celebrating cultures and diversity

These thematic strands provide scope to incorporate projects which span a range of different sectors and activities including health and wellbeing initiatives; children and young people; community regeneration including redevelopment and re-imaging of existing community facilities for shared usage; initiatives to build positive relations; social innovation; social enterprise; and education and skills and community education. All supported projects should be designed to address issues of racism and sectarianism, increase social inclusion, and promote civil leadership.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council PEACE PLUS Partnership

The development of a PEACE PLUS Action Plan requires each council to establish a PEACE PLUS Partnership. As such a PEACE PLUS Partnership is being established in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area. The PEACE PLUS Partnership will oversee the design and implementation of a co-designed process in our area which will be used to inform the development of an overarching PEACE PLUS Action Plan. Following approval of the PEACE PLUS Action Plan by SEUPB, our Partnership will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the PEACE PLUS Action Plan. Our partnership must ensure the new Action Plan aligns with the local Community Plan for our area

Our Mid and East Antrim Borough Council PEACE PLUS Partnership will comprise the following four pillars –

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council PEACEPLUS Partnership (27 Members)

Pillar 1: 11 nominated Elected Members

Pillar 2:  5 nominated Statutory Representatives
Pillar 3: 7 Social Partners representing Geographical/ Community/ Civil Society selected through this open call process Pillar 4:  4 Social Partners representing PEACEPLUS Target Groups selected through this open call process

As per the table above, we are seeking to recruit a total of 11 Social Partners under pillars 3 and 4. 

  • Under Pillar 3, we wish to recruit a total of 7 social partners that can represent the different geographical parts of our area
  • Under pillar 4 we wish to recruit 4 social partners who can represent Section 75 interests or other PEACE PLUS target groups.  Social Partners will be chosen through this open call selection process.

What is a social partner?

A social partner includes those within the community, voluntary and social enterprise sector; those from special interest groups or those representing Equality Groups; individuals from civic society; and those from PEACE target groups, trade unions and businesses.  The role of a social partner is to represent the sector from which you have been nominated (not your individual organisation) and to represent the interests of the wider community.

What are PEACE PLUS target groups?

PEACE PLUS target groups include women, young people, older people, those living with a disability, members of the LGBTQI+ community, those particularly impacted by the legacy of the Conflict, such as victims and survivors and those dealing with legacy issues such as ex-prisoners and former members of the security forces as well as ethnic minorities, migrants, asylum seekers and members of the Traveller Community.

What are Section 75 groups?

All public authorities must have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity between different Section 75 groups [1].  There are nine groups which include persons of different: religious belief, political opinion, gender, racial group, age, marital status, sexual orientation, persons with a disability and those without and persons with dependants and those without.

What is a good relations duty?

This recruitment process will also have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.

Time commitment for social partners

  • The role is a voluntary, unpaid role
  • Travel expenses and caring expenses will be available for each member
  • It should be assumed that the partnership will meet 6-8 times per annum and each meeting would require a time commitment of approximately 2 hours per meeting. Preparation time for meetings is not included.
  • During assessment periods this commitment may increase facilitated through an Assessment sub-committee. 
  • While the programme commences in 2022 and runs to 2027 the commitment will lessen in the latter years as the programme winds down. The Partnership tenure for each member is likely to be 3 years when members can step down or step back for the last two years. 
  • Meetings will be a mix of virtual and face to face
  • Any person who requires support with IT connectivity etc. will also be supported. 
  • Training will be supplied for all partnership members in all aspects of the programme. 

What is a co-design process?

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will seek to identify local and district level priority PEACEPLUS Action Plan projects and initiatives through a co-design led consensus decision making approach.

Co-design is a participatory approach in which community representatives/beneficiaries are treated as equal collaborators in the design process. According to research conducted by Community Places and Queen’s University Belfast, four common co-design principles in the context of community planning are as follows:

  • An asset-based approach which recognises and value the abilities and resources within communities;
  • Equal inclusion of professionals, peoples and communities;
  • An emphasis on building capacities and networks of mutual support for people and communities; and
  • Building trust and sharing power in both service planning and delivery

Co-design in the Context of the PEACE PLUS Action Plans

Co-design goes beyond the process of local consultation, which in many cases informed the content of previous PEACE Programmes. Rather, this practice will enable groups which represent different communities of interest from defined areas, to collaboratively design projects tailored to meet the challenges and opportunities specific to that area.

When developing our Action Plan, we will aim to assemble and facilitate diverse and inclusive groups to co-design priority projects, specific to our area guided by our partnership. These projects will strongly align with the peace and reconciliation objectives of PEACE PLUS and incorporate the level of sustained contact between those from different community, cultural and political backgrounds.

Partnership members will play a significant role in the co-design process and will be central to designing the way in which we engage meaningfully with local communities and other stakeholders in identifying the most appropriate projects that help to embed and promote peace and reconciliation in our area. 

Training for all partnership members in co-design principles and methods will be undertaken during the first Partnership meetings so that all partnership members are fully embraced in the process.  

Partnership members will, among other things, play a key part in the process of helping to select and prioritise those projects that best meet needs, that address the peace building criteria of each of the three funding streams, and that are meaningful, deliverable and cost effective.

Our action plan will be assessed not only on the quality of our priority projects and the potential of these to achieve peace and reconciliation progress, but also on the extent and effectiveness of the co-design process undertaken to develop the Action Plan and the extent to which the co-design process represents diversity and geographic inclusivity.  Our social partners in particular will play a significant role in helping us to achieve this. 

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of an innovative new programme that can make a huge difference to the communities of Mid and East Antrim Borough.  We look forward to receiving your application. 


[1] Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 provides that: (1) A public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity- (a) between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation; (b) between men and women generally; (c) between persons with a disability and persons without; and (d) between persons with dependants and persons without.  (2) Without prejudice to its obligations under subsection (1), a public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.