Northern Ireland youth and community investment at the heart of the UK Government’s centenary program

  • Extensive youth program to inspire young people to shape Northern Ireland’s future
  • A £1million fund has been awarded to 39 community projects across Northern Ireland as part of a shared history fund with the National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • A major Northern Ireland 2021 trade showcase in London to boost investment and build back better. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, has unveiled an extensive program of projects and events to mark Northern Ireland’s centenary in 2021.

This includes a major Northern Ireland 2021 business showcase in London, a £1million Shared History Fund, an ambitious youth programme, tree planting projects, academic and historical events and a cultural program.

In addition, stakeholders from across Northern Ireland are organizing activities including a George V event at Belfast City Hall and an international church service for all faiths.

These initiatives reflect the UK Government’s commitment under the New Decade New Approach Agreement to showcasing Northern Ireland’s economic, cultural and social achievements on the local, UK and international stage through the occasion of this key anniversary. This will involve reflecting on the past and envisioning a bright future for Northern Ireland, with the program focusing on investment, young people, culture and the environment.

The centenary will also highlight the strength and beauty of the diverse perspectives and identities within the four nations of the UK that make our Union unique.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said:

“The UK Government’s centenary program of events gives us all the opportunity to reflect on Northern Ireland’s history and take pride in all that this fantastic place has to offer the UK and in the world.

“In its 100th year, the people of Northern Ireland can build on their spirit of unity and recognize their enormous achievements over the past decades.

“I hope these projects and events will help drive Northern Ireland’s post-Covid recovery forward, inspire the next generation and show the world the beauty, innovation and tenacity of the people of Northern Ireland. North.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“2021 marks the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland, which paved the way for the formation of the United Kingdom as we know it.

“Our centenary program will reflect on the past and on the people and developments that make Northern Ireland the great place it is today.

“The activities will pay tribute to all those who have worked tirelessly to support Northern Ireland throughout the pandemic, and will champion the incredible young people of Northern Ireland who contribute so much to the shared success of our United Kingdom.”

Our Story in the Making program includes;

  • A Shared History Fund – in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, £1m has been awarded to 39 community projects across Northern Ireland, to research and demonstrate what 100 years of Northern Ireland has meant meant for them and their community. The projects will mark the centenary in an inclusive way, giving a wide range of people the opportunity to participate and understand the key events and history that have made Northern Ireland what it is today.
  • Historic Centenary Event – Belfast City Council will host an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Parliament of Northern Ireland on June 22, 1921, by King George V. This event will take place in Council Chambers, exactly hundred years after this historical circumstance.
  • Rebuild greener – every school in Northern Ireland will receive a native tree to plant on their grounds. Each school will be encouraged to film their planting ceremony and share with the world, via, their moment of celebrating the centenary and working for a greener future.
  • Our Future Northern Ireland – an extensive program for young people exploring what the future will look like in the next 100 years and how they can shape it to become the nation they want it to be. Working in partnership with Youth Action Northern Ireland through live performance, radio and social media, young people in Northern Ireland will engage and showcase their hopes and ambitions for Ireland’s next 100 years North.
  • Launch of the ‘Centenary Rose’, a unique flower of reflection and hope, produced in Northern Ireland for the centenary and planted in Hillsborough Gardens to bloom throughout the summer of 2021 and beyond. A centenary rose will be presented to Her Majesty The Queen for her own garden, and there will be a decorative rose designed and produced in the UK, which will be worn by VIPs at centenary events and given to program participants. A small number will also be available for purchase in exchange for a charitable donation.
  • Organized by the churches, an international service for all denominations in the fall.
  • A reception at Hillsborough Castle and historic buildings across the UK will be lit to signify a bright future for all.
  • Academic Events – working in partnership with an advisory group of historical experts and academic institutions including Queens University Belfast. A Reflection of the Government of Ireland Act, through other events that seek to explore and deepen our understanding of the historical context of the centenary. Further details of the historic panel program will be announced soon by Lord Bew and the members of the panel.
  • In celebration of the centenary – in partnership with Royal Mail, a special postmark reading ‘Our History in the Making – Northern Ireland Beyond 100’, will be affixed to stamped mail sent around the world. Stamped mail across the UK will be postmarked from April 26 to May 3. From May 3 through May 29, stamped mail from NI will be postmarked. The 2021 Northern Ireland Stamp Promotion, First and Second Class will be on display at post offices across the UK.
  • Build Back Better – London will host a Northern Ireland 2021 Trade Showcase. Businesses and organizations from across Northern Ireland will promote their products, services and expertise; networking and meeting with international companies, governments and investors to showcase the best deals to boost exports and investment in Northern Ireland.
  • Born in Northern Ireland – a dedicated cultural program showcasing the talents and contribution of those born in Northern Ireland. Encompassing communications activity and a series of live and online events to promote and showcase the talents and skills of people in Northern Ireland; from doctors and teachers, contributors to Covid-19 efforts, to writers and artists, actors, singers, poets and dancers. As part of the “Our Story in the Making: NI Beyond 100” campaign, this installment will run from May through September and culminate in a VIP reception and centennial public concert.

Jill E. Washington