Junior Minister Jennifer McCann today delivered the opening address at the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) Conference in Derry.
This international conference aims to help the peripheral communities of Northern Europe develop their full social and economic potential. In the 2007-13 funding period, the North of Ireland has participated in 26 successful project partnerships working across the Northern Periphery benefitting from over £3million (€4million).
Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said:
“Improving participation in EU programmes, such as the Northern Periphery Programme, has been a key action in the Executive’s response to the European Commission’s Barroso Taskforce, increasing our engagement across Europe. This Programme has a strong tradition of implementing projects which affect people’s daily lives. I am greatly encouraged by our level of involvement and success. I look forward to new opportunities being explored as a direct result of this conference.”
Examples of projects that have been delivered under the Northern Periphery Programme include:
Rural Youth Entrepreneurship project - This project builds a strong entrepreneurial spirit among rural young people, promoting self-employment as a realistic career path, enabling full participation in local economic and social opportunities.
O40 project - This project develops the capacity of older people as community assets, applying their skills to address the lack of community activities and services available to elderly people. In this project, volunteers extended the existing lunch club and ‘meals on wheels’ service to a wider geographical area. Food was sourced from local farms and allotments, and a ‘drop in’ centre was opened to provide information on pensioner’s rights and entitlements.Implementing Transnational Telemedicine
Solutions project - This enables patients in remote locations to interact with clinicians via video conferencing. These new ways of working will be deployed in the delivery of speech therapy, stroke rehabilitation, renal and diabetes consultations – improving accessibility to care and reducing unnecessary travel by patients and staff.
Junior Minister McCann concluded:
“It is fitting that Derry is hosting this conference. The city has become a by-word for creativity in terms of the arts and is widely recognised as a cultural crucible. Next year, as the 2013 City of Culture, Derry will host the biggest programme of cultural activity ever to take place on the island of Ireland. A city that is geographically on the periphery of Europe will be at its cultural heart in 2013.”
There were over 150 delegates attending from Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Scotland and Ireland.