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About Us

The mission of NICE is to promote peace, reconciliation and mutual understanding between the communities of Northern Ireland.

Our Values

NICE is committed to providing a safe space for people to discover, build and create new relationships and understanding between the different cultures and communities than exist in Northern Ireland. We respect the diversity that exists in the community and will challenge people to take risks to develop understanding and lasting relationships with groups and individuals.

NICE will test values and beliefs in a safe environment through programmes that challenge and encourage people to think for themselves and support them in developing understanding based on first hand knowledge. We believe in real working partnerships with the statutory sector through our programmes in schools and through developing collaborative projects within the voluntary sector.

Our Background

Nice grew from an organisation called Irish Children’s Summer Programme who brought young people from troubled parts of Belfast to the USA for summer holidays from 1978 onwards. The idea at the time was to get young people away from the worst areas of conflict in Belfast during the summer months and give them a holiday away from the stresses and strains of living with rioting and bombings on a daily basis. The programme also wanted to try and bring young Catholics and Protestants together so whenever possible one young Catholic and one young Protestant were placed together with a family. We also tried to place Catholic children with Protestant families and visa versa. On average we brought between 50-150 young people away each summer.

In the early 1980’s we began to talk about the long term effects on young people of the troubles and about how we could bring them together once they returned from the USA and begin the process of reconciliation. So we formed a committee in Belfast and one in New York to further these aims.

Our Chairman in the USA Don Murphy was instrumental in setting up NICE as it exists today where our work is now solely concentrated in reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Staff Profiles

Name. Carmel M Cavana
Job. Director of Youth Programmes

I have been involved in NICE for nearly 27 years. As Director I pretty much do a bit of everything- minibus driver when needed, cleaner sometimes, accountant others!
Carmel Profile
Name. Jill Caskey
Job. Youth Programmes Manager

I became a volunteer with NICE 7 years ago and just never really left! I studied at Stranmillis to become a Primary School teacher specialising in Art.
Jill Profile
Name. Grainne McKenna
Job. Centre Manager, Australia House
I am passionate about Community Relations and how it impacts everyones everyday lives. Young people, young adults and volunteers have a safe place to ask questions in a meaningful way.
Grainne Profile

In 1987 through his support, we purchased a residential Centre in Ballycastle 60 miles from Belfast. Here thousands of young people have had the opportunity over the years to meet at weekends and begin the process of understanding and appreciating difference. In 2013 we moved our Belfast HQ to premises in the Upper Lisburn Road (Finaghy) which is closer to our feeder schools and communities.
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