All-Island initiative launched to help communities tackle shared challenges

3 Dec 2021     Last updated: 21 Mar 2022

NICVA and the Wheel Logos

Press Release

NICVA and The Wheel launch Shared Island, Shared Practices, a new all-island initiative that will bring together communities from across the island to discuss solutions to their shared challenges.

Over the next nine months, The Wheel and NICVA will facilitate a series of dialogues between community and voluntary groups North and South of the border to identify emergent local, regional, and all-island responses to challenges such as:

  • rural sustainability
  • recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic
  • developing the island economy
  • digital inclusion; and
  • achieving a just transition to a sustainable, de-carbonised and biodiverse island.

The initiative will identify and promote community-led responses that promote shared-island economic and social collaboration. A series of podcasts will explore each of the above mentioned- issues, and highlight relevant collaborations North and South.

Shared Island, Shared Practices is jointly funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs through the Reconciliation Fund and the Department for Communities. 

Speaking ahead of the launch, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, commended The Wheel and NICVA for the “great leadership and commitment they have shown in getting the Shared Island, Shared Practices initiative up and running”. He added: “I am delighted that my Department’s Reconciliation Fund has been able to support this important all-island collaboration.  Projects like this open up new pathways, and help build the kind of sustainable North-South links and relationships that are a vital dimension to deeper reconciliation on this island.”

Norther Ireland Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “I’m pleased to be supporting this important north/south initiative, which will allow us to take a look at a number of key challenges that we face as an island.  I will be following this work closely and look forward to hearing the discussion and ideas that emerge as we work towards economic and social recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel added: “Our island is home to diverse traditions, but we have a shared geography and communities North and South face similar challenges. Civil society has a key role to play in addressing these challenges. Shared Island and Shared Practices will point the way to a new era of community-led all-island collaboration.”

Seamus McAleavey, CEO of NICVA said: “Voluntary and community organisations are collaborative in nature and can learn from each other. There has been significant north south collaboration in our sector over the years for mutual benefit, but this initiative will focus our attention on the benefits even more and engage more organisations. The challenges are common but so are the solutions. We will tap into the experience of organisations across the island and spread the learning for everyone to benefit.”

For more information on Shared Island, Shared Practices, visit and




The Irish Government’s Shared Island initiative aims to harness the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement to enhance cooperation, connection and mutual understanding on the island and engage with all communities and traditions to build consensus around a shared future.

As part of the Shared Island research programme being progressed by the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach, the National Economic and Social Council is undertaking a programme of research to produce a comprehensive report to inform the development of the Shared Island initiative as a whole-of-government priority (Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy, Scoping Paper, No.153 February 2021). In the scoping paper defining this work, NESC acknowledges the “important role of civil society” and notes the “extensive co-operation between civil society and community organisations across the island of Ireland and Britain, reflecting North-South and East-West interests”.

About The Wheel and NICVA

The Wheel is the Republic of Ireland’s national association of charities. Its membership includes over 2,000 charities, community groups and social enterprises. The Wheel is a representative voice and a supportive resource that offers advice, training, influence and advocacy for the nonprofit sector in the Republic.  To learn more about The Wheel’s work visit

NICVA, the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, is the membership and representative umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland. With over 1300 members - ranging from household name charities to grass roots community groups - it lobbies and campaigns to advance the interests of the people and communities that its members support. NICVA offers a wide range of practical services, products and support to its members to help them do what they do best - find innovative solutions for social challenges. See

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