Physical and Social Environment Sub-Programme

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The EU Physical and Social Environment Sub-Programme

The Physical and Social Environment Programme (PSEP II) is a unique action under the structural funds. It was adapted to deal with the obstacles to the development of economic and social cohesion which have been set by a deeply divided society where significant socio-economic differentials exist both between and within the main cultural and religious identities.

The aim of the programme is to cultivate internal social cohesion by improving the physical and social environment within Northern Ireland to ensure that the whole community is more able to take advantage of the economic growth potential of the region. It began in 1994 and is due to end on 31 December 1999. The PSEP contains four measures:

  • Community Relations - to address directly the issue of reconciliation between the communities in Northern Ireland.

  • Urban Regeneration - aimed at rehabilitating selected sites located principally in inner-city areas of Northern Ireland.

  • Targeting Social Need - aimed at alleviating deprivation in groups and areas which are most severely disadvantaged.

  • Community Infrastructure - to involve those experiencing poverty more actively in the design and management of programmes aimed at overcoming social exclusion.

The Central Community Relations Unit (along with the Department of Education (NI)) administers the Community Relations measure which has an allocation of 16.631 million over the six years. The primary objective of the Community Relations measure is:

  • to provide opportunities for purposeful and meaningful cross-community contact with a view to reconciliation between the different communities in Northern Ireland. It also has two secondary objectives:

    • to encourage greater appreciation about the rich diversity of culture in Northern Ireland and to ensure that all aspects of culture are promoted in a way which is not threatening or diverse
    • to encourage young people in particular to develop mutual understanding, a respect for difference and a recognition of the need to resolve problems by peaceful means.

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