Two Mid and East Antrim Borough Council representatives have been nominated to sit on a panel aimed at supporting communities in deprived areas.
The DUP’s Alderman Audrey Wales and the TUV’s Matthew Armstrong were selected to sit on the Doury Road Building Successful Communities Forum at the latest council meeting.
The Building Successful Communities initiative was introduced as part of the ‘Facing the Future’ Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland in 2013 and aims to use housing intervention as one of the main catalysts for local regeneration.
The main aims are to see collaborative working between the Department for Communities, local government and housing associations to improve infrastructure, deliver new and affordable social housing and target ways to bring economic regeneration to the area.
A Regeneration Forum has been established in each of the pilot areas, made up of statutory organisations, local community and elected political representatives.
Ald Audrey Wales said she’s pleased to have been reappointed to sit on the Doury Road Development Group: “I’m really excited to see what can happen in this area and pleased to have been nominated to sit on the board. We were lucky enough to see the opening of a community hub here in March. The hub provides a new and bright space for a wide range of community initiatives such as First Aid classes, IT training and even art and crafts. The residents have already noticed the positive impact this project has had on the area and I’m looking forward to more we have in the pipeline.”
The hub is one of the catalyst projects identified as part of the Department’s Building Successful Communities (BSC) programme. One of the aims of the programme is to improve the local environment through upgrading and improving access to amenities in order to unlock physical and social regeneration.
Cllr Matthew Armstrong will also sit on the forum, he said: “Through funding from different agencies we hope to offer lots of exciting programmes that will benefit everyone. This area is growing from strength to strength but there is still a lot of work to be done. As a new councillor I’m feeling energised and keen to see what we can do by working together to build this community up to the success I know it can be.”
The creation of a community growing space has also been giving residents the opportunity to have their own allotments to grow vegetables, fruit or flowers. They have been meeting with other allotment holders in Drumtara and Tullygarley to learn from them and they also will be getting advice from horticulturists.
The Doury Road Development Group hold meetings with agencies such as the PSNI and Education Board to improve community safety, discuss policing issues and what youth provision is available for local children.