As an adjunct to the ‘Peace School', two ‘Fellowship' programmes have already been initiated. The Fellowship programme is designed to promote active community involvement among groups suffering from marginalisation and deprivation, and involves a combination of theoretical study and practical project work. The programme is approved by the Open College Network to NVQ level 3, although it is planned to upgrade the course to the level of a Diploma.
In order to retain the designation ‘Fellow of Messines', it is necessary both to apply annually and to produce evidence of involvement in a project, or activity, designed to promote peace and reconciliation or to reduce inter-communal tension and conflict.
The ultimate objective of the Fellowship programme is to produce a cadre of people operating within and between communities (initially in Northern Ireland, but possibly to extend beyond the province) to offset the effects of ‘The Troubles' and to promote positive and constructive community activity and cross-community interaction. It has the additional benefit of providing recognition, as well as theoretical and practical support, for those involved in building peace, reconciliation and promoting inter-communal harmony in their own communities.
The networking skills and the level of trust established by the participants can be seen by the developments in the interface areas over the few years, particularly in Belfast. The Peace School has further supported the work of its' Fellows by providing funding for a feasibility study to enable them to apply for project funding to various funding bodies.