Watch this film to find out about who we are…
Please be aware that this film is emotionally powerful
On March 20th 1993 the IRA exploded two bombs without warning in a shopping street in the town of Warrington. It was the day before Mothering Sunday and very busy. The bombs in bins created shrapnel that killed three-year-old Johnathan Ball and five days later 12-years-old Tim Parry lost his life. 54 others were seriously injured. The incident shocked the nation and gained worldwide publicity.
After the bombing, numerous organisations came together in a spirit of reconciliation and formed the Warrington Ireland Reconciliation Enterprise (WIRE). The parents of Tim Parry, supported by Johnathan’s parents (Johnathan’s parents have since passed away) wanted to gain an understanding of why they lost their children. Colin and Wendy Parry were then taken by BBC Panorama to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the USA. During that visit, they saw some of the work going on to create peace.
They came back inspired, like many other victims, to try and make sure nobody ever experienced what they had gone through. They formed a charitable trust with many of the donations that had come in after the bombing and they wrote a best-selling book about their experience. A scholarship commenced in Tim’s name bringing together young people from different sides of the conflict to try to understand their differences and also share their commonalities.
Wendy Parry had the idea to create a location to house the scholarship and they set a vision to build a centre as a living memorial to the boys so nobody would forget them and that peace could be created. The project became a millennium goal and grew substantially with the involvement of Government and national charity the NSPCC. Opened in 2000, the Peace Centre is a multi-purpose building on a large scale with incredible facilities ranging from residential quarters to a café, and from sport and art spaces to special spaces for conferences and project work.
Early work started by developing projects in line with new citizenship agendas in schools and by undertaking a huge and diverse number of projects and activities ranging from community youth clubs to residential programmes. In 2001 the Foundation undertook a study looking at the specific needs of GB domiciled victims of the Northern Ireland conflict and from this report work began to provide a series of activities to assist those victims. At the same time, conflict was changing, with the likes of 9/11, 7/7 and a gradual move to peace in Northern Ireland. The Foundation began to develop its capabilities working not only with young people but communities generally in building peace and conflict resolution skills.
The Foundation campaigns only for one thing…..For Peace. That is to say that conflict is inevitable, but using violence is not. The Foundation has developed over a further 14 years and is independent and funded as a charity. We do not take sides, we are not aligned to any conflict, we are not faith or political based and we do not pursue causes such as justice or truth. There is no other organisation that takes such a stance.
This ‘unique’ positioning is enhanced in that we also believe to tackle serious violent conflict (terrorism, political violence, war) you have to deal with the prevention, resolution and response – the before, during and after. It is this combination of skills alongside our position that makes us unique.
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