North Belfast Economic Forum


North Belfast Economic Forum


Following various discussions around the common economic themes across each of North Belfast's 5 Neighbourhood Renewal areas, it was agreed by the North Belfast Chairs Forum to establish a collaborative economic forum for North Belfast in early 2013. This forum meets every 2 months and is concentrating on the attending organisations working together to promote economic regeneration across North Belfast.

Primary Role

Following discussion there was agreement that the primary role of the Forum  is to:
• Organise as an umbrella network across North Belfast
• Promote and manage collaboration and expansion of service provision
• Be a strong and cohesive voice for North Belfast
• Hold funders to account to fulfil their obligations and commitments
• Facilitate sharing of information on plans and progress against them in a spirit of openness and transparency
• Promote and share best practice across Forum members and beyond.

Our Priorities

The Forum’s priorities in terms of focus on outcomes and potential work streams are:
• Training and employability
• Creating sustainable employment opportunities
• Attracting investment from within and outside North Belfast
• Starting businesses
• Growing businesses
• Attracting businesses
• Promoting North Belfast as a great place to work and do business with campaigns to raise confidence and standards within North Belfast and to attract those looking in from outside
• Influencing central and local government economic regeneration policies so that they apply to and are applied in North Belfast for the betterment of the area
• Promoting best practice across members and other stakeholders.


NBEF Structure

The authority of the Forum derives from a voluntary agreement amongst members of the respective Neighbourhood Renewal economic sub groups
across North Belfast, and this is steered by the North Belfast Chairs Forum. The Forum itself will have a membership made up of:
5 x nominees from the NRP Economic Sub Groups
4 x BRO Neighbourhood Renewal Officers (observer status)
2 x nominees from ESF Training Providers
1 x North Belfast Partnership
1 x North City Business
It was agreed that the NBP would continue to provide the Secretariat subject to a review when the SIF application for funding was decided on.


Ground Rules for the Forum

Chair Options (consult NRP Chairs for confirmation)
• Appointed from within, by the Forum members
• Independently recruited (e.g. an employer champion)
• One of five NRP Chairs, rotating annually
Meetings monthly, initially and moving to quarterly when start-up phase completed. Minutes agreed by Chair and shared with members and freely made available to wider communities of interest.


NBP delivers the forum's secretariat function, in the immediate interim. Decision making is by consensus, calling on a vote to decide matters where consensus cannot be reached or moving to consult the five NRP Chairs should any member request this. The BRO representatives will act as observers only and will not take part in any formal voting. The Forum is accountable to the five NRP Chairs and will report back on performance as required (e.g. quarterly). External communication (e.g. media responses) must be funnelled through the Chair of the Forum. The Forum will set up Task Groups on an ad hoc basis as issues arise or as work streams are agreed – individual Forum members may be asked to lead on specific issues.

Typical Activities

• Support training and employment opportunities for people in NB
• Lobby and campaign for investment, jobs and service delivery in North Belfast
• Drive implementation of common actions/priorities arising from the five Neighbourhood Renewal Partnerships
• Working to create a strong voice to attract investment into the area
• Developing and updating an economic strategy for North Belfast
• Hold local and central government to account and ensure that North Belfast is on their agenda and in their plans.
For further information on the forum please contact Turlough McAleenan on (028) 9075 2990 or email