Bringing Light to the Dark Corners of Belfast
I am always encouraged when I hear of Kingdom entrepreneurs who have a heart and vision to bring new life into broken places. Let me introduce you to Daniel Jackson, founder of Cornerstone, an experienced property and construction professional. Cornerstone is a purpose-driven business that seeks Isaiah 61 opportunities to transform cities by developing property and building thriving communities.
Please be inspired and encouraged by his story.
A chance phone call from an estate agent brought Daniel’s attention to a beautiful Victorian ex-maternity hospital situated in a part of Belfast that has been identified by the government as being one of the most deprived areas in Northern Ireland. It was ‘love at first sight’ as Daniel was moved by the desire to bring this building back to its former glory, to restore a place filled with happy memories for the local community and bring hope to a part of Belfast that has been neglected for decades and that has experienced a huge amount of trauma and violence during a dark time in Northern Ireland’s history.
This project brought Daniel into a part of a city that began to capture him, a second site was identified 200 metres from the first project. This site was a licensed premises that acted as a headquarters to a paramilitary group. It was while considering this site that Daniel felt Gods call to ‘bring light to the dark corners of the city’. The vision for the business was clarified, identifying sites that have a symbolic significance, be that a negative history or a positive story in a part of the city where there is huge opportunity for growth given that it is within walking distance of a
thriving City Centre and a rapidly improving suburb that has become a property hotspot famed for its restaurants, coffee culture and parks. It was there that the Isaiah 61 mission began “They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations”.
Daniel comments that “some people look at a derelict site and think ‘what a shame’ – we look at it and go – this could be the site the turns this area around – a site that brings hope! Hope is so important, it changes everything, we seek to be hope-filled people that see the potential – and then act on it, seeking transformation in parts of the city we love that have been neglected for too long!”
As Daniel considered what ‘bringing light’ means he realised that real transformation came through relationships – we believe the most powerful thing we can do is bring ‘life-giving’ relationships to the heart of our developments. The team had the idea of having ‘community coordinators’ living within our developments.
The community coordinators are there to serve the residents. To be a caring presence that are actively seeking to facilitate relationships within the development but also connecting residents to the community around them. Cornerstone uses the phrase ‘life is better when you’re connected’ and that’s why it’s committed to investing in this element of its strategy.
That’s why creating space for ‘real relationships’ is such a priority for Cornerstone. These community coordinators will also be able to walk with the residents through the highs and lows of life acting as a caring presence that is seeking the best for everyone in the development and the wider community.
God’s Kingdom is wherever He reigns and because He reigns in my heart I want to make sure that everything I do bears His mark – the greatest Commandment he gave was to love Him and to love our neighbours and that’s exactly why I do what I do
DANIEL JACKSON – FOUNDER – CORNERSTONE, NI
If you would like to find out more or would like to partner with him then please visit his website.