St. Columb's Park House is an 18th century manor house situated in parkland on the Waterside of Derry/Londonderry. St. Columb's Park Reconciliation Trust was set up in 1994 to establish a centre for reconciliation and a safe venue. The House was renovated for a second time in 2012.
In addition, the Trust manages St. Columb's Park House as a community business offering conference and residential facilities. The centre is used by a wide range of youth, community, voluntary and statutory organisations. Income from this commercial activity is covenanted to the charitable activities of the Trust.
The centre employs between 5 and 12 people and any one time, and receives core funding support from the Community Relations Council and Derry City Council, as well as programme funding from a range of funding bodies. The beneficiaries of St Columb's Park House programme work cover all demographic and social backgrounds.
Current programmes include:
Londonderry Bands Forum: The forum, made up of 12 local bands, is the first ever in the City. It aims to promote a more positive message of band culture locally, and to improve relations between bands and the wider North-west community. The programme includes a range of training opportunities for Band Masters and young band members to have a broader positive influence in their communities including networking events; educational trips; an annual conference; community festivals and music master classes. The programme also aims to promote a regional strategic approach to promoting co-operation and influencing policy direction.
Cultural Heritage and Identity Programme (Flags Forum): Since 2007 St Columb's Park House have been working on the issues of flags and symbols in the North-west in a range of estates in Derry/Londonderry, Limavady, Strabane, Magheramason and Castlederg. This includes; household surveys; mapping flag numbers and contentious spaces; facilitating local community dialogue; developing resource allocations to develop locally run programmes and developing a Flags Protocol for each of the areas.
Peace Walls ‘Creating Change’ Programme: St Columb's Park House are working with local Waterside based communities in a two year inter-generational and research programme. Its ultimate aim is to cement inter-face relations and physically regenerate contentious spaces and barriers.
Unionist Forum: On the back of the Flags protests of January 2013, St Columb's Park House were asked to facilitate a process of dialogue between 80 representatives from political parties, community representatives, church leaders, statutory bodies and the PSNI to explore issues of concern within the Protestant Unionist, Loyalist Community. A series of public forums have taken place with a range of speakers examining the issues of policing, cultural identity, the city of culture, economic investment, political leadership and educational under-attainment.
Forum for Cities in Transition: This international programme is coordinated by the Northern Ireland Foundation and UMass Boston and includes 14 steering groups in cities across the world. It attempts to contribute to peace building through the exchange of information and is based on annual visits to host cities (the Derry group hosted the conference in 2011) with each following up on targets set at each conference.
Foyle Youthban: A cross-community grant-making committee of young people who distribute small grants to local youth-led projects.
Princes Trust Youth Sporting Programme: 15 young people aged 16 work on a week long programme using sport as a taster for personal development.