About Us

The REACH projects aim is to deliver the hopes of the P.U.L. community, helping them to understand their history and culture. To educate both the young and the elderly so it helps our people to move onto a peaceful and brighter future for all of the people of Northern Ireland. To deliver a single identity program based around renewing, engaging and advancing community hopes in the Newtownards Road/Ballymacarrett area using history and culture.

  1. To engage, educate and inform the parents, helping them understand their history and culture. 2. To engage, educate and inform the young people, helping them to understand their history and culture.

If you have any questions please feel free to call – 028 9045 7657



LATEST – 14th March

A big thank you to Michael Stone and his partner Karen for creating and sharing a recent piece of art embracing the REACH Projects goal in moving forward.

‘Aslan of Eastside’

“This kaleidoscopic work embraces East Belfast’s’ REACH philosophy of moving forward from the tragic past period of political & social upheaval – A strength and unity within the working classes of all cultures & traditions – Supporting the aspirational youth of the East with creative ability to excel in their endeavors in career, arts, sport or literature.

M. Stone 18″

In the past he spent time each week teaching art to teenagers in deprived areas of East Belfast, something he got great satisfaction from. Quoted by the Guardian in 2001. “Sure, I’m like some Rambo character to them when they first meet me and they ask questions about what I did. But I just tell them it isn’t big and clever to kill people. Then we get down to work, making things and doing things.

“There aren’t a lot of jobs or facilities in their area but they’re good kids and they’ve got to be encouraged to make the most of what they have.”



28th February


We the undersigned desire a transparent and inclusive debate concerning rights, truth, equality and civil liberties and in so doing challenge assumptions that such values are not embedded within civic unionism, pluralism and other identities.

We are motivated by the desire to build a society for the betterment of everyone.

Signatory Dr John Dunlop, former Presbyterian moderator

Signatory Dr John Dunlop, former Presbyterian moderator

This cannot happen when such a commitment is perceived as being vested in one community or political persuasion.

We find it frustrating and puzzling that civic unionism, pluralists and other forms of civic leadership have been rendered invisible in many debates focused on rights and responsibilities.

It has reduced our capacity to be heard and undermines the power of reconciliation to shift society away from stale and limiting notions of identity.

We have worked for peace and reconciliation and in so doing have had open and transparent engagement with civic nationalism.

Signatory Dawn Purvis

Signatory Dawn Purvis

That has included recognition of the need for equality and most importantly the urgent need for polarised communities in Northern Ireland to reconcile and deal with barriers to a better future.

To achieve this requires the recognition that withholding truth presents as such.

This is not unique to any institution or section within our society but where it is a selective process, healing a pernicious and destabilising past remains as a challenge to us all.

Civic unionism, and other identities are not resistant to claims of equality and full citizenship.

Signatory the artist Brian John Spencer

Signatory the artist Brian John Spencer

These identities are central to the development of an authentically fair and tolerant society.

We wish to unite, not divide, and in encouraging transparency we call upon civic nationalism and others to engage with us in frank and fulsome debates about the many values and beliefs that are commonly shared and are vital to transforming the issues that we face.

Signed: Brian Acheson; Ian Acheson; Irwin Armstrong; Arthur Aughey; Stuart Aveyard; John Barry; Doug Beattie; John Bew; Elizabeth Boyd; Gavin Boyd; William Boyd; Glenn Bradley; Michael Briggs; Daniel Brown; Jonathan Burgess; Paul Burgess; Jason Burke; Alison Campbell; Stevie Campbell; Lesley Carroll; Jim Crothers; Jonny Currie; Vince Curry; Glenda Davies; James Dingley; Brian Dougherty; Jeffrey Dudgeon; John Dunlop; Janice Dunwoody; Aaron Edwards; William Ennis; Brian Ervine; Linda Ervine; Isabella Evangelisti; Neil Faris; Albert Flanagan; Dean Farquhar; Stewart Finn; John W. Foster; James Gallacher; Richard Garland; Brian Garrett; James Greer; Trevor Hamilton; Barry Hazley; Helen Henderson; Maureen Hetherington; Chris Hudson; Fiona Hutchinson; Mark Irvine; Kathryn Johnston; Georgina Kee-McCarter; James Kee; Julia Kee; Lauren Kerr; John Kyle; Paul Leeman; David McAloanen; Chris McGimpsey; Shirley McMichael; Lesley Macaulay; William Matchett; Andrew Mawhinney; Lindsay Millar; Lewis Montgomery; Derek Moore; Pamela Moore; Steve Moore; Gareth Mulvenna; Mike Nesbitt; George Newell; Hannah Niblock; Russell Orr; Jenny Palmer; John Palmer; Len Peace; Claire Pierson; Andy Pollak; Catherine Pollock; Dawn Purvis; David Ramsey; Chris Reid; Stafford Reynolds; Trevor Ringland; John Shackels; David Shaw; Stephanie Shaw; Peter Shirlow; Frank Shivers; Philip Smith; David Smyth; Neil Southern; Brian Spencer; David Stewart; John Stewart; Robin Stewart; Kyle Thompson; Brian W. Walker; Garth Watson; David Whiteside; Robert Williamson; Steve Williamson; Andrew Wilson; James Wilson; Terence Wright



20th February


Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has poured cold water on Sinn Féin demands for a stand-alone Irish language act, warning it has to be conscious of the feelings of unionists.

“If anybody seriously believes that you’re going to convince the loyalist people in the Shankill that they should have Irish signs – they’ll be waiting,” he told RTÉ’s ‘Claire Byrne Live’ last night.

He said the act “can’t be seen as a victory and we’re going to shove it down their (unionists) throats”.

“I think that the message has been received so, in fairness to Sinn Féin, it has seemed to receive that but it has to be seen and understood, otherwise loyalists and unionists are going to get at Arlene, which makes her position untenable.”

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney met new Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald and her deputy, Michelle O’Neill, at Government Buildings last night.

They spoke for around 90 minutes and agreed on their united commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.

Bertie Ahern poured cold water on Sinn Féin demands for a stand-alone Irish language act. Photo: Steve Humphreys 22
Bertie Ahern poured cold water on Sinn Féin demands for a stand-alone Irish language act. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Both sides also agreed any move towards direct rule from Westminster would be highly regressive and something Dublin could not countenance.

Mr Varadkar spoke to British Prime Minister Theresa May on the phone following the meeting. He reiterated Dublin’s “firm position” that the Good Friday Agreement must be implemented in full, and that the Irish Government does not want to see the introduction of direct rule in Northern Ireland.

A Downing Street spokesperson last night said Mrs May told Mr Varadkar that she believed “there was scope for agreement” and reiterated that it was still her government’s priority to get devolution up and running again. Both leaders agreed to remain in close contact.

Earlier, Mr Coveney had warned that the re-imposition of direct rule would “rip the heart” from the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Coveney is travelling to New York and Washington this afternoon for a series of meetings with the Trump administration. He is due to give an address at Columbia University on Brexit and give the keynote speech on the Good Friday Agreement at a special event in New York entitled Ireland’s ’20 Years of Peace’.

Mr Ahern also took a pop at Mrs May last night. He said she has been preoccupied with addressing the various battles within her own party which has distracted her from her responsibilities in Northern Ireland.

“I think Theresa May has not given enough time to Northern Ireland as she’s trying to keep about five sides of her own cabinet together.

“It’s not good enough to breeze in and meet nobody – that’s not negotiating at all.”

Irish Independent


14th February


The group would like to offer our deepest sympathy to the Anderson family on the sudden passing of our friend and comrade Jim Anderson.


We owe our freedom to those men and women who have served their country and its interests in time of need. Not for glory, nor riches, but for their people.



Lest we forget – Lamh Dearg Abu


15th January

Naive Alliance has become a Sinn Fein patsy in republican takeover of Belfast City Hall

They vote together and they care only about so-called progressive policies, claims Ruth Dudley Edwards

Alliance leader Naomi Long got involved in Twitter row over Kingsmill cartoon

“What has happened to the Alliance Party, which used to pride itself on its independence and its commitment to democratic values? Here are just three recent disturbing examples of how far it has fallen.

First, in September the UUP’s Jeff Dudgeon, who had fought for a permanent memorial in the grounds of City Hall to the 1,000 victims of the Blitz, admitted defeat.

Since Nazi bombs had killed Catholics and Protestants alike, it didn’t seem a contentious issue.

It was, however, to Sinn Fein – which is ambivalent about the Second World War because the IRA supported Germany.

Cunningly, it linked the Dudgeon proposal to its request for a statue of Belfast woman Winifred Carney, who was with her boss James Connolly in Dubin throughout the Easter Rising.

Alliance endorsed the proposals being dealt with collectively, thus scuppering any agreement.

Mr Dudgeon was disappointed but not surprised.

“The Alliance Party, has, yet again, taken sides with Sinn Fein and turned the statues into a contentious issue,” he said.

“They want conflict, so they can sit above it, so they can resolve it. It’s a peculiar facet of liberal terror.”

Michael Long, leader of the Alliance on the council, accused him of “showing his prejudice in his comments about our party’s voting habits”.

Having “actually done some research of figures rather than assumptions”, he said, the party had found that in terms of recorded votes over the past two or three years, “half the time we voted with Sinn Fein and half the time we voted with the DUP”.

But that was wholly untrue, according to DUP councillor John Hussey, who checked the voting record of the previous two years and found Alliance had voted 22 times with Sinn Fein against the DUP and only 8 times the other way around.

Then there was the amendment to standing order No. 30, which was proposed in December in the strategic policy and resources committee by Sinn Fein’s Charlene O’Hara and seconded by Alliance’s Sian O’Neill.

“A Member shall not impute motives or use offensive expression in reference to any person or section of society, including any such expression that shows contempt in relation to their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious belief, age or disability,” it said.

As Mr Dudgeon – yes, him again – pointed out, this would, for instance, preclude anyone from being rude about the motives of bankers for closing bank branches.

It’s a charter for people who want to stifle free speech.

At present Sinn Fein and Alliance are propelling it through the system.

Then last week we had the drama of Mr Long’s wife Naomi, leader of Alliance, Barry McElduff, a brilliant cartoon by Brian John Spencer and tweets by the DUP’s Christopher Stalford and the UUP’s Doug Beattie.

Mrs Long tweeted Mr McElduff after he had deleted his disgusting video, asking him what he thought he was doing and asking if he had made any apology to those “deeply hurt by your antics whether deliberate or not?”

Mr Spencer, who was appalled by the hurt done to the Kingsmill victims and the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein in continuing to lecture others about its “red lines” on various issues, produced his magnificent, savage cartoon depicting the Kingsmill van with 10 lines of blood leading straight to Gerry Adams bellowing about equality.

Among the thousands who retweeted it were MLAs Stalford and Beattie, both of whom were pompously ticked off by Mrs Long for engaging in “irresponsible, inflammatory and insulting behaviour which is unbecoming of their role”.

The Alliance and Sinn Fein Twitter mobs joined in, and because of a request from a Kingsmill relative, both politicians deleted their tweet.

Yet other relatives and other victims welcomed the cartoon. Alliance has become the party of identity politics and virtue signalling and Sinn Fein has taken full advantage of its naivety to use its support to help conquer Belfast City Council for republican ends.

Shinners may eulogise murderers, boycott Westminster and bring down Stormont, but hey, to Alliance, they’re preferable to dinosaurs who disapprove of gay marriage and think free speech matters, even if it hurts people’s feelings.

Someone should explain to the party that it is being eaten by a crocodile.”

Belfast Telegraph – https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/ruth-dudley-edwards/naive-alliance-has-become-a-sinn-fein-patsy-in-republican-takeover-of-belfast-city-hall-36486970.html

6th January

We call for Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduffs resignation after posting an absolutely outrages video mocking the Kingsmill Massacre on its 42nd anniversary.
Kingsmill is a well-known brand of bread in Northern Ireland. It shares a name with the south Armagh village that witnessed one of the most notorious incidents of the Troubles in 1976 when IRA gunmen stopped a van carrying Protestant textile workers on their way home where they were lined up at the side of the road and shot. Are we to believe this was purely coincidence and not intentional? Please do not insult our intelligence Mr McElduff, stand down and hang your head in shame.


2nd January

Dalaradia were delighted to host a discussion workshop on Ulster Scots, Ulster Gaelic and Ullans language, culture and traditions at the Reach UK office.


The event was chaired by Dalaradia Patron Dr Ian Adamson OBE with Helen Brooker of Pretani Associates.

Guest speaker was the Professor Emeritus Wesley Hutchinson, Honorary President of Europe’s largest Irish Affairs body, the Societe Francaise d’Etude Irlandaise.

Professor Hutchinson is the senior academic of Irish affairs at the world renowned Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris.

His global perspective on minority languages was most helpful in celebrating culture without allowing it to be used as a political weapon.

His work with Dalaradia and Reach UK will feature in his forth coming book examining the Ulster Scots people and space throughout history.



8th November


A Carrick man has spoken of his involvement in a project assisting staff at an orphanage in Africa and the personal development he experienced.

The LCC team of volunteers pictured with David Campbell (LCC Chairman) and Bob Thompson.

Robert (Bertie) McWilliams has returned from Tanzania after spending a month there as part of a Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) delegation.

Bertie was one of eight volunteers from across Northern Ireland who travelled to the east African country under the stewardship of project leader, Bob Thompson.

The group spent four weeks working with the Kidzcare orphanage and schools in Tanzania from September 17. The purpose of the project was to promote team building within different loyalist communities, offer international work experience and personal development and to expose the volunteers to different cultures, religions and challenges, while at the same time benefitting the children of the orphanage. The aim was to make a difference both at home and in Africa.

Ahead of their departure, Bertie was unsure how his special diabetic dietary requirements were going to be met in Africa. He also questioned his participation in the project as he knew he would miss his six-year-old daughter a lot.

Bertie, who works as a window fitter/joiner, was able to use his skills in Africa to carry out maintenance at the orphanage.

Commenting on the duties he performed in Tanzania and his interaction with the orphans, the east Antrim man said: “Straight away we got stuck into general maintenance work around the orphanage and whilst doing that we met the beautiful kids that stayed there.

“All our hearts were touched as these kids really have nothing and they are the most happy and friendly wee kids I have ever met. We soon learned that these kids are very much the lucky ones compared to others, as they have a safe life and love at the orphanage and without the staff they would be desolate and abandoned.

“Listening to their individual life stories would melt the hardest heart. My thoughts went back to my own daughter and I realised just how well-off she is compared to these kids.”

Although most of their time was spent carrying out work around the orphanage, the LCC volunteers were able to experience African culture on a rare day off.

Bertie explained: “We spent our day off by having a beach day with the kids.

“We had a fantastic time enjoying the beach, the warm Indian Ocean and most of all having fun with the kids. The trip home on the bus was amazing with the kids entertaining us with selection of Swahili songs.”

On his return, Bertie, who said he would be keen to volunteer in Africa again, said: “I learned to respect a lot of things back home, such as hot water, food and family. Everyone realised just how well off we are back home and none of us will take things for granted again.

“We went to Africa as strangers and returned as a family of the LCC and we will support each other from now on. I now see things very differently and I am so glad I got the opportunity to do it.”

Bertie would like to thank everyone for their support, the sponsors, the LCC and its chairman David Campbell for the idea and Bob Thompson the project leader for putting it all together.

For more information about the orphanage and the project, check out www.kidzcaretanzania.org



 7th November

Why Micheal Martin is a key unionist ally against resurgent republicanism




 18th October


Finally the LCC Tanzania Project challenge is over.
All arrived home safe and sound yesterday evening and with the exception of a few mosquito bites everyone is in good health and condition.
Berty, a member of Dalaradia/REACH, remarked “the trip started with three groups of strangers and ended with one group of family”.
The month away raised some challenges but as each challenge was overcome the bond of friendship grew stronger. The children of the orphanage touched their hearts and have shaped their lives for the future.
This is something we hope to build on for the future helping less fortune people. One very important aspect of motivation is the willingness to stop and to look at things that no one else has bothered to look at. Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Well done to everyone involved, you are a credit to your community.
For more information on this project check out:


26th September

On 12th May 2016 the Loyalist Communities Council launched a Flags Protocol.

Its aim, to prevent our national emblems being left on display in a dilapidated state and asking that steps were taken to prevent this occurring.

REACH, as part of the LCC, ask that, as agreed, all remaining flags be taken down on or as soon as possible after Ulster Day – 28th September 2017.

Flags and emblems are highly potent symbols of community allegiances and are important demonstrators of our Loyalist and Unionist heritage and culture.

Please treat them as such – many thanks.



20th September 2017


The Loyalist grouping known as the Red Hand Commando (RHC) has officially requested to be removed from the list of proscribed organisations. The request was made in London and will be looked at by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd. At the time of writing it is not known how long it will take for a decision to be made. Reaction to the request has been somewhat mixed.

The application has been made under Section 4 of the Terrorism Act (2000) which allows for members of a banned group to contact the government to request deproscription without themselves facing the threat of being charged with membership. The theory being that deproscription could help an organisation move forward towards integration and obviously away from previous association with violence.

The initiative is being supported by the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), the umbrella organisation set up by Tony Blair’s former chief of staff Jonathan Powell to steer paramilitaries away from criminality, and the LCC’s chairman, David Campbell, said that Mr Powell supported the application to the Home Secretary. Mr Campbell argued that in retaining the paramilitary name, rather than disbanding, it would be harder for dissidents to seek to revive it at a future point. There has always been a fear that ‘dissident’ Loyalists could use the name of the three main Loyalist paramilitary organisations as a cover for criminal activity.

Senior Loyalist Jim Wilson (a former RHC prisoner) stated that;

“This organisation is not about glorifying murder, bombings, shootings – it happened in a conflict that we got engaged in as young lads and it’s not something that people want to run about and gloat about and to have it pushed into people’s faces. That’s not what deprosciption is about – it’s about allowing us to move to the next phase which is out of conflict, away from what happened in this society and all those people that were hurt by our organisation, Gusty Spence couldn’t have said it any better – it is true and abject remorse. But we were brought up in a society where there was violence and young lads from our Protestant community engaged in it and that’s it – the organisation couldn’t be any clearer; it’s sorry for the people that had to be hurt in this conflict.”

The words obviously hit a nerve with Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein as he described the move as ‘abhorrent’. When it was pointed out to him that his actions and the actions of his former IRA colleagues went beyond abhorrent into mass sectarian genocide and that it was hypocritical of him to even comment on this move he decided to skulk off elsewhere. But there was widespread concern amongst victims groups that, in not dealing with the needs of victims and their families first, this type of move could be seen as too soon and too upsetting. Others welcomed the move and saw it as progressive and potentially ground-breaking.

Then there is the “politics” of it all and the repercussions should such a decision be given a positive outcome. Some seasoned political commentators queried what sane government would give the go ahead to legalise a former paramilitary group? What are the benefits to a Tory government when the media exposes Loyalist criminality (or what purports to be Loyalist criminality)? This idea could prove toxic to a government with a slim majority. In turn would those groupings intent on criminality latch on to “legal” groupings to ensure a type of “cover” or veneer of respectability? And the government will worry about the negative headlines around this. Then again the U.K. Government might just offer the suggestion that all this is pointless and groupings should leave the stage voluntarily. Which in turn creates a vacuum to be filled by criminal elements masquerading as loyalists. It is a complex issue indeed.

There is no doubt that within Loyalism there continues to be great desires to remodel and copper fasten the progress achieved during the last decade. Any new initiative to speed up reintegration must be viewed through a prism of positivity if we are to bring everyone forward. The removal of proscription carries with it many risks and it will be interesting to see how the mainland politicians deal with such a request.”




19th September 2017

Various articles relating to announcement:  Belfast Telegraph –  Eamonn Mallie.comBelfast Telegraph 2Slugger Otoole


12th September 2017

First Loyalist group applies to Home Secretary to be legalised. For more details click the following link – http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/first-loyalist-paramilitary-group-applies-to-home-secretary-to-be-legalised-1-8145559


RHC full statement

LCC statement

PUP statement



10th August 2017

A group from Loyalist communities (Among them members of REACH) have been selected to participate in a pilot scheme to undertake charitable work with a local orphanage in Tanzania. For more details click the following link – http://www.reachproject.co.uk/events/tanzania-project/


9th August 2017

REACH are facilitating a history course commencing 7pm Wednesday 6th September 2017  at REACH offices,240 Newtownards Road, Belfast to Bodenstown. 6 Workshops, 2 site visits (Belfast and Saintfield) plus a 2 day residential in Wicklow. If you are interested please contact our office on 02890 457657 or email reachni3@outlook.com. The course is FREE to attend.


23rd June 2017


REACH are now providing First Aid courses for the local Community. For more information please click the following:


22nd June 2017


REACH are now providing a food bank to distribute food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough to avoid hunger. For more information please click the following:



1st May 2017

Proposals on Past open path to Truth