Where it came from

The Zone’s vision will take 20 years to realise, but it’s also been 20 years in the making.

From the first time the Greater Shankill Community expressed a need for designation in 1995, the concept has evolved from the idea of an education action zone, to a zone that would provide more holistic support. The Greater Shankill community’s idea is now being realised.

1995 – Community planning days

The public first expressed a need for Greater Shankill to be designated as “an area for priority education treatment” as part of an action plan.  (derailed by a change in direct rule minister)

2002 – Community Convention

The Greater Shankill Community Convention was formed as a mechanism for the people of Greater Shankill to discuss what change they wanted for their community.

2004 – Community Convention

Greater Shankill Community Convention expresses ‘grave reservations’ about the capacity of government departments to engage in joined-up working. (2008 Action Plan)

2008 – SRF

The Greater Shankill Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) proposes the establishment of an Education and Learning Action Zone with support from local stakeholders and steering group. (Strategic Regeneration Framework)

2011 – Community Convention

Two Community Conventions were held to agree a way forward for the community.  The designation of an Education Action Zone with a Partnership for Education was adopted by the Convention, along with a focus on improving quality of life for every person in the Shankill.

2013 – Manifesto for Education

The Agreed Agenda group on behalf of the Community Convention presented the Minister of Education with a Manifesto for Education calling for the designation of an Education Action Zone.

2014 – Declaration & Designation

The Community Convention declared the Greater Shankill a Children & Young People Zone.

The Zone was designated at an unprecedented meeting in Stormont and backed by five government ministers and their departments.

2015 – Laying the Foundations

The Zone’s Vision, Mission and Core Values were launched and its Promises to Children & Young People were made. Intensive strategising with partners began and the first ‘conversations’ with young people began.

The number of government ministers supporting the Zone rose to seven. The Zone invited Prof. Alan Dyson to speak at its 1st Anniversary Seminar.

2016 – The Pathfinders

The methodology of the Zone’s Conversation process was developed through action research with Queens University Belfast’s Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation and a team of Conversation Pathfinders. A Platform Group was created to further develop the Zone through a wide range of experience from community, statutory, public and education professionals.