We are very pleased to announce that the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation has joined Irish in Britain as an associate member. It was founded after the 1993 murders of Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball to promote peace, conflict resolution, community cohesion and leadership and has grown to work across Britain and internationally.
Brian Dalton CEO Irish in Britain said, “The work of the Foundation has a deep resonance within the hearts of the Irish community in Britain. The principles of dialogue, education and leadership to build common understanding have never been more important, particularly at a time when narratives try to divide communities. The pain of these families’ terrible loss has been repurposed into inspirational work and we are proud to help profile an organisation that does so much to champion peace and reconciliation.”
We met with the founder and Chair of the Foundation, Colin Parry, who provided an overview of the organisations mission and work.
The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation: A Brief History
On 20 March 1993, the day before Mothering Sunday, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded two bombs without warning in a shopping street in the town of Warrington.
The bombs were planted in bins on Bridge Street, which was the main shopping area. Three-year-old Johnathan Ball died at the scene of the bombing and, five days later, 12-year-old Tim Parry lost his life as a result of fatal head injuries, 54 others were injured, some seriously.
Though the incident shocked the nation and gained worldwide publicity, nobody was ever prosecuted for the deaths of Tim and Johnathan.
After the bombing, Colin and Wendy, the parents of Tim, were invited by the BBC to make a ‘special’ Panorama documentary programme, which took them to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Boston in the USA. During their time in Northern Ireland, they visited organisations working for peace, to see how they engaged with young people living in the midst of what was seen by many, as a ‘never-ending war’.
Inspired by what they had seen, Colin and Wendy set up their own charity, ‘The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation’ in 1995. In 1996/7, they organised the Foundation’s first exchange programme, ‘the Tim Parry Scholarship’ for young people from Belfast, Dublin and Warrington.
The programme was so successful, that Wendy proposed building a Peace Centre, both as a memorial to the boys, and to provide a lasting East- West dimension to the peace process in Ireland.
The Peace Centre
On 20 March 2000, the seventh anniversary of the bombing, the Peace Centre was opened by our Patron, HRH the Duchess of Kent. The Centre was built as a living memorial to Tim and Johnathan and a home for the Foundation to deliver its work. It is a multi-purpose building with incredible facilities, including a games area, sports hall, residential quarters, dining room, conference and meeting rooms and external gardens.
The Foundation’s very first programme, ‘The Tim Parry Scholarship’, ran for many years and provided the basis for many of the programmes which followed, by drawing upon the experience and knowledge we gained in those early years.
Our work is organised in broad ‘Project’ areas, such as working with young people across all age ranges, working with victims and survivors of terrorism, working with women's groups, and working in communities where there is inter-faith / inter-race conflict.
Our ‘Programmes’ are specifically linked to a specific Project area and evolve to keep pace with contemporary challenges.
With young people who are at risk from violence and extremism, we focus on developing their leadership skills to help them influence their peer group and to become resolutely committed to non-violent means of resolving conflict.
Our work with women’s groups (often from Third World countries) focuses on building their skills and confidence, so that they can use their unique abilities and their focal position within their families and communities, to exert a positive influence in peaceful co-existence.
In 2001, the Foundation undertook a study looking at the specific needs of GB based victims of the Northern Ireland conflict. From this report, our work began in providing support and assistance to those victims.
We help British and British-based citizens who are victims or survivors of terrorism in this country or overseas. Terrorist attacks, such as ‘9/11’ and ‘7/7’, which came after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, led to the Foundation developing new programmes, working not only with young people but also adults and communities across Britain, in building peace and conflict resolution skills.
Peace and Conflict Resolution… ‘Our Unique Contribution’
The Foundation’s reputation and work continues to grow, and we have undertaken projects internationally, working with other Non-Governmental Organisations. For several years until the UK left the EU, we chaired the European Union’s Radicalisation Awareness Network. We also employ a highly skilled in-house team with a professional associate network.
The Foundation is an independent, non-aligned charity that works ‘for peace’. We are not faith or politically based, and we do not pursue causes such as justice or truth. We are uniquely non-aligned. To reduce serious violent conflict, we direct our efforts at prevention, resolution and response – the ‘before, during and after’. It is this coalescence of principles and skills that makes our work unique.
We campaign only ‘for…Peace’, knowing that conflict is inevitable but violent conflict is not.
Colin Parry, Founder and Chair - The Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Peace Foundation said:
“I was delighted to receive and accept, on behalf of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation, the invitation to join ‘Irish in Britain’ as a member organisation. My family and the Foundation have received nothing other than the support and kindness of Irish people throughout the time since we lost Tim and, as an independent and politically non-aligned organisation, the Irish in Britain is a natural partner for our Foundation.”
Biography: ‘Tim – An Ordinary Boy’, written by Colin and Wendy, is the true story of Tim’s life and the impact of his death had, not only on his family and friends, but on people across GB and Ireland.