City Cemetery

People working to clear up the Cemetery

Heritage Grants

Belfast, Northern Ireland
Corpus Christi Youth Centre
“The cleaning of the cemetery was an add-on to the project. Because we were learning about it we wanted to clean it up.”
Young participant
A group of young people addressed local concerns about antisocial behaviour at Belfast City Cemetery by cleaning it up, and researching and sharing its history.

This project was delivered through a partnership between Corpus Christi Youth Centre, Belfast City Council Parks and Cemeteries Department and Belfast Central Library.

Corpus Christi Youth Centre has supported some of the most deprived communities in Northern Ireland for over 30 years. The centre is based in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast and works with over 450 young people on a range of projects. It aims to support their personal and social development, and encourage civic responsibility. The Corpus Christi Youth Centre website contains details of their projects aswell as a photo gallery.

Young people at the centre came up with the idea of exploring the history of the nearby Belfast City Cemetery. They took full ownership of the project from the beginning and helped develop the HLF application, setting targets and objectives.

The cemetery has many fine examples of Victorian, Edwardian and Gothic revival architecture, and over 225,000 people are buried there, including historically important politicians, inventors, industrialists and business people. However, it was overgrown and local people were concerned about antisocial behavior in the cemetery.

The young people wanted to find out more about the cemetery’s history and to share this with the local community by providing guided tours and producing a website and leaflets. They formed a management group to run the project, holding key roles such as Chair and Secretary. They also transformed the rubbish-strewn cemetery by organising an environmental day that was attended by 1,000 pupils from local schools.

The project resulted in greater local awareness of the heritage of the cemetery and a reduction in vandalism. The project brought together people from four churches where sectarian divisions still persist.