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8.1 Introduction
 
In this section, a series of themes are presented as the basis for the Colin neighbourhood strategy. These themes are based on the findings of the strategy development and have been confirmed by the strategy steering group.
 
The themes outlined have been developed through extensive consultation and debate across the Colin community and its various stakeholders. The themes represent the core needs of the community and the framework within which they can be addressed. While they are presented as separate themes in reality they are interdependent and inter-linked and they should be viewed in this way. Training for Employment is evidently closely linked with employment and in the context of Colin this requires investment by both private and public organisations.
 
The provision of childcare support for those re-entering the labour market is very important and while it sits within a different theme, it is nevertheless fundamental to breaking the circle of long term unemployment. This is an example of the links across the themes and shows the need for the an integrated approach to the delivery. Colin Neighbourhood Initiative will play the key role in monitoring the implementation.

It is important to recognise that as a strategy, the status of the themes will change over time and due consideration needs to be given to such developments.
For ease of use we have presented the themes in two broad clusters; people and place. The people themes represent the broad social, economic , education and health issues which impact of the lives of the Colin community.
The place themes (section 9) represent the key physical and environment issues which need to be tackled if the neighbourhood is to be renewed and revitalised.
 
The format for presenting the themes is as follows:
 
  • Introduction: This sets the context for the theme and the various elements of it;
  • Profile: Based on research which establishes the baseline socio-economic profile of the Colin community;
  • Consultation: Based on the extensive community consultation which has taken place over the duration of this study;
  • Issues: Summary of the underlying factors which are the source of the need;
  • Need: Identification of the core need of the community which requires action;
  • Objectives: The key objectives which, if addressed, would assist in tackling the underlying need;
  • Targets: A measurable (SMART) indicator of what should be done in order to impact on the objective;
  • Actions: Identification of the key actions in order to move toward achieving the targets; and
  • Who Actions: These are presented as proposed at this stage, subject to further discussion and negotiation with the key bodies/organisations.
 
The Investing for Health Strategy seeks to shift the emphasis by taking action to tackle the factors which adversely affect health and perpetuate inequalities. The key Values and Principles which underpin this strategy are summarised below.
 
Values:
 
  • health is a fundamental human right;
  • policies should actively pursue equality of opportunity and promote social inclusion;
  • individuals and communities should be involved fully in decision-making on matters relating to health;
  • and all citizens should have equal rights to health and fair/equitable access to health services and health information according to their needs.
 
In terms of the Colin area both the Noble indices and the Health Needs Indices reflect the significant challenge which exists within the area.

In addition to official publications, the community consultation highlighted issues which are linked to health needs including:
 
  • support for parents as a key community issue;
  • abuse of drugs and alcohol as a significant community issue; and
  • growing concerns regarding mental health issues among young people.

It is important to note that many of these findings, particularly abuse of alcohol and drugs can be a result and symptom of other underlying personal and/or social issues.

This is recognised within the Investing in Health and the Neighbourhood Renewal documents.

Health has been defined by the World Health Organisation as:

‘a complete state of physical, mental and social well being and not simply the absence of disease or infirmity’ 1

This definition provides an important reference point both in terms of defining the baseline of health and how it is central to the regeneration process.

It is recognised that as a society we can significantly improve the health status of people by tackling related problems including poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, poor housing, crime and general environment conditions i.e. pollution.
 
“the poorest are more likely to be sick or disabled and to die prematurely than the wealthiest. Poverty is the greatest risk factor for health”2.

Research provided by a range of health bodies including the Eastern Health and Social Services Board and Down Lisburn Trust combined with the Noble research, shows significant health issues within the Colin community.
 

8.4.1 Health, Vulnerable Groups and the Social Change
 
It is generally accepted that society has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable groups. Traditionally the core vulnerable groups were children, the elderly, the sick and those with special needs. In most cases the primary carers for these members of society were immediate family supported by the resources of the various health and caring and education agencies. Within the history of Belfast and West Belfast in particular there was a strong family and community ethos which underpinned the commitment to those most in need.

It is widely accepted that significant change has taken place in society generally and our consultation would suggest that this is now being reflected in the Colin community as:
 
  • the traditional community ethos of belonging and support is being challenged and eroded;
  • this loss of community ethos appears to have become more significant since the reduction in civil and community strife (Post Cease-fires); and
  • the traditional family unit is changing significantly.
 
1 Investing in Health; World Health Organisation

2 Investing in Health
 
In addition to the changes to community and family ethos, it is recognised that alongside the traditional vulnerable groups (children, elderly, sick and those with special needs), there are several emerging vulnerable groups particularly in the Colin area:
 
  • young males (16-25) particularly in relation to those suffering mental health; and
  • single parents (16-25) who face significant challenges in bringing up children in difficult circumstances.
 
Recognising that some within the vulnerable groups identified above require range of support services (e.g. ante natal care, respite care, family support services), local health professionals and community representatives have highlighted a number of specific health issues which are causing concern in the Colin area. These include:
 
  • mental health issues generally;
  • suicides, particularly among young people;
  • parenting support needs; and men’s health issues.
 
These findings would reflect the broader findings of the 2001 Health and Social Well-being Survey which indicated that 21 per cent of the adult (aged 16 and over) population in Northern Ireland considered themselves to be depressed and that a similar percentage had a potential psychiatric disorder.

In relation to young adults, research carried out by the Health Promotion Agency with 16-25 year olds indicated that mental health problems such as sleep disorder, stress, anxiety and behavioural problems affected one in five adolescents here.

In relation to suicide it is estimated that over 95 per cent of people who commit suicide have been suffering from a mental illness. Even though the suicide rate in Northern Ireland is amongst the lowest in the EU, the trend is increasing. In 2000, there were 163 registered deaths from suicide, 130 among men and 33 among women. Of these 42 were under the age of 25.

At this stage, there is limited published data available to allow a comparative assessment to be made of the level or impact of such needs in Colin. However throughout the consultation process the community has consistently identified the above issues as emerging health issues. It is important also to note that these issues are viewed as symptoms of the problem as compared to the source.
 
The Colin strategy seeks to ensure that the symptoms and impacts of such issues are managed but more importantly that resources are dedicated and coordinated to address the causes of such personal and social disease.
 
 
8.4.2 Resources
 
At a trust level, Down Lisburn Trust has highlighted that:
 
“the Regional Capitation Review Group as applied to the Trust by the Eastern Health and Social Services Board would indicate the Down Lisburn population as having a negative equity position of £9.2 million”.3

The Trust highlights that the concept of equitable distribution of resources and equitable access serve to underpin the main strategies at United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and Board levels and these are complemented by New TSN commitments.

The Trust would wish to see a clear and unambiguous commitment and action plan agreed to begin to address the equity position.

It is not within the capacity or responsibility of the CNI to seek to deliver health services to the Colin community. It is however proposed that given the significant need which has been identified within the strategy document that
CNI will work to ensure that the health needs and issues are addressed.

In identifying ‘Health and Caring’ as a priority theme, CNI proposes to address, monitor and assess the change in the general well being of the local community.
To this end the following framework will underpin the Health and Caring theme.
 
accessibility: it will be important that the strategy monitors the accessibility to services which are provided within the community and those which are provided beyond the immediate area. This theme is
linked to two other factors:

− availability of services i.e. waiting lists, health visits, case loads;
and
− transport to points of service i.e. clinic, hospital;
ensuring resources: through a review of documentation and
discussion with EHSSB and Down Lisburn Trust the basis for allocation of resources has been identified and reviewed. Using the Regional Capitation formula, the Health and Social Services Boards seeks to ensure equitable distribution of resources to the various Trusts. It is the responsibility of the Trust to ensure that services are delivered to the respective areas and their needs;
 
3 (Trust Delivery Plan 2002-2003)
 
monitoring performance: a key element of the strategy will be to ensure that the delivery of services meets the needs. In relation to health care this is difficult to assess, however every effort should be
made to monitor key indicators. These might include expenditure, staff numbers across delivery teams inthe Dunmurry patch and specific performance related to targets provided in this strategy; and
the long term: the strategy seeks to ensure that the services are delivered and monitored over a seven to ten year period.
 
8.4.3 Conclusion
 
The levels of health deprivation within the Colin area is well documented and while across the Colin community there is recognition that the vast majority of Health Professionals on the ground deliver key services, there is a belief that resources are inadequate. In addition, given the scale of health need, there is a belief that the health provision in the area is constantly in crisis mode, therefore addressing the symptoms rather than the underlying causes, CNI recognise that the causes of ill health are complex but it also believes that the delivery of this strategy can provide a vehicle for a co-ordinated approach to dealing with such issues.
 
Theme
 
Health and Caring
 
themes1
themes2
 
 
 
8.5.1 Introduction
 
CNI seeks to improve the lives of its residents in the short, medium and long terms. It is recognised that access to a sound education can bring real life opportunities for children and adults alike.
Within the Colin area there are clear educational needs across the pre-school, primary and post primary education stages. Noble and Census findings indicate that therefore significant educational needs in the area, particularly in the Colin Glen and Twinbrook wards. In terms of child poverty the Noble indicators show that more than 75 per cent of children in the Colin Glen and Kilwee wards are in receipt of Free School Meals, thus indicating a high level of social need.
 
Recognising the current limitations of the educational resources and support in the Colin area, the local community considers their schools and support programmes to be among the main assets of the area. It is also recognised within the Colin Steering Group that access to education presents one of the best sources of improving the well being and lifestyle of the community.
 
8.5.2 The Context
 
The link between educational attainment and socio-economic disadvantage has been recognised for many years and is well documented in academic research including Mortimore and Blackstone (1982)4; and Piling (1990)5.
The research suggests that socio-economic disadvantage limits educational opportunities by increasing the likelihood of family stress and the tendency to leave school early. Disadvantage also makes it more difficult for children to benefit from the education they do receive (Hillman, 1996)6. For example, inequalities in health, both in terms of the incidence of illness and in the take up of services, can be powerful factors leading to retardation of physical and intellectual growth.

While there is widespread recognition of the existence of a link between education and socio-economic disadvantage, there is less agreement on what the nature of this link is and its cause. The debate tends to focus on the relative importance of four main factors:
 
the individual child;
family background and parental influences;
 
4 Mortimore, J. and Blackstone, T. (1982) Disadvantage and Education. London. Heinemann
5 Pilling, D. (1990) Escape from Disadvantage. Lewes. Falmer Press.
6 Hillman, J. (1996) Success Against the Odds. Effective Schools in Disadvantaged Areas. National
Commission on Education. London. Routledge
 
the socio-economic characteristics of the community in which the child lives; and
the school which the child attends.
 
Evidence on the links between social background and educational performance in Northern Ireland in general and Belfast in particular has been widely available for a number of years (see for example, Gallagher et al.,
19977; 19988; Gallagher and Smith, 20009; Shuttleworth and Daly, 200010).
 
This evidence confirms much that is known from findings elsewhere, including the concentration of under-achievement certain areas, the association between educational under-achievement and socio-economic disadvantage and the importance of schools in educational performance.
 
The link between socio-economic circumstances and educational performance is recognised by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland. The Department’s strategy for the School Support Programme begins by making the point that: “throughout the world, there are schools which face particular problems associated with the socio-economic backgrounds of the communities that they serve. In Northern Ireland, many such schools face the additional challenges of communities scarred by civil unrest spanning more than a generation” .(p.1)
 
The strategy also recognises the importance of school effectiveness as a factor in educational attainment. It points out that “some schools do better than others in similar circumstances” and cites the example of two inner city schools with similar intakes where the pupils were doing 30 per cent better in one school than in another (p.1).11
 
Gallagher also reports that data from the Department of Education shows the continuing strong relationship between social background and school performance. The graph below shows the performance levels of students attending secondary schools within six Free School Meal categories in 1999/2000. It can be seen clearly that where the Free School Meal level increases, educational performance levels decrease.
 
7 Gallagher, T., Shuttleworth, I. and Gray, C. (1997) Educational achievement in Northern Ireland: patterns and prospects . Research Monograph 4. Belfast: Northern Ireland Economic Council
8 Gallagher, T., Shuttleworth, I. and Gray, C. (1998) Improving schools in Northern Ireland. Research Monograph 7. Belfast: Northern Ireland Economic Council.
9 Gallagher, T. and Smith, A. (2000) The effects of the selective system of secondary education in Northern Ireland: main report . Bangor: Department of Education.
10 Shuttleworth, I. and Daly, P. (2000) ‘The pattern of performance at GCSE’ in Department of Education, The effects of the selective system of secondary education in Northern Ireland . Research Papers Volume 1.
Bangor. Department of Education.
11 DENI (1998) ‘The School Support Programme: Intensive support for schools’, p.1
 
 
Figure 8.1
 
Performance Levels of Students receiving FreeSchool Meals
 
The concept of community partnership is increasingly important in education policy. Similarly, an Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) report on improving city schools (OFSTED, 2000a12) highlighted the importance of communication with parents and community links, adding that schools ‘warrant, and sometimes receive, strong support from community agencies’ (p8).
More recently, initiatives such as Support for the Family, funded by Belfast Regeneration Office across schools in the Colin area and outer East Belfast, have sought to assist the establishment of Family Centres. The aim of such centres is to encourage greater co-operation between children, parents and schools in order to facilitate the development of a learning culture within the school and home environments.
 
8.5.3 Going Forward
 
On the basis of the research highlighted above, it can been seen that the provision of a sound basic education is fundamental to overall personal and social development in modern society. In essence education provides basic skills and the opportunity to avail of life choices which may not be otherwise available. The reverse is also the case, i.e. failure to achieve a basic education, specifically basic numeracy and literacy skills significantly reduces the life opportunities and choices.
 
12 Ofsted (2000a) Improving City Schools: strategies to improve educational inclusion. London: Ofsted. Taken in isolation such failings can have huge personal and social impacts, however when these are combined with other factors such as health deprivation factors, the consequences are more pronounced and can significantly compound the problem.
 
Therefore in terms of the implementation of the Colin Neighbourhood Strategy, there are several key mechanisms which must be put in place:
 
Monitoring the need: while there is general consensus that the schools within the Colin Neighbourhood offer good educational provision and support, there is also recognition that the needs of the children are much more complex than would be the case in many other areas of Northern Ireland. These needs are multi-faceted and therefore the solutions can be complex and involve considerable resource implications for the schools involved. These resources are not always available and while interventions do occur through pilot initiatives such as Support for the Family, the duration is limited. The CNI is committed to ensuring that the needs of local schools and their pupils and staff are reflected to the appropriate bodies on an ongoing basis;
 
Supporting the providers: the strategy must work in co-operation with the main providers and delivery organisations of education in the area i.e. pre-school, primary school and secondary schools. CNI will seek to support and where appropriate lobby on behalf of the key delivery bodies across the area. In addition, recognition should be given to those providers of education which are not located within the area but deliver services to children from the area i.e Special Schools etc; and
 
Ensuring resource allocation: in its role of co-ordinating and lobbying on behalf of the community, CNI will work with the key delivery bodies to ensure that the allocation of resources reflect the level of need in the community. The monitoring of the allocation and assessing the impact of the efforts will form part of the implementation of the strategy.
 
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The key to addressing both short term and long term unemployment is through a vibrant and competitive local environment. This dynamic environment creates and supports businesses which require employees to fulfil key operational tasks. In the context of Colin itself, the business base is small, there is a history of long term and generational unemployment and the provision of appropriate training has been patchy. There are also significant issues of low levels of literacy and numeracy among a significant number of the adult population. This presents major challenges to preparing young and older adults for the workplace.
 
8.6.1 Context
 
The Programme for Government provides the framework within which the local administration will address the social and economic development of the region. The aim of the overall Programme for Government is to provide:

“a balanced, competitive, innovative, knowledge-based and fast growing economy where there are plentiful opportunities for all” .

CNI seeks to create an environment in which the skills and talents of its residents can be employed in meaningful and wealth creating employment. The levels of unemployment across the area and the limited employment opportunities within the area present a significant challenge. The key to creating a vibrant local economy is ensuring the skills development of the local labour force matches the needs of the business community. CNI propose to place addressing the issues of employability as a key priority in the delivery of its strategy over the next seven to ten years.
 
8.6.2 Employability
 
The Taskforce on Employability and Long-term Unemployment was established under the Programme for Government, to consider how best to tackle the problems of long-term unemployment and economic inactivity which persist in Northern Ireland despite a general improvement in economic conditions.
 
The Taskforce developed a model of employability that sets out the main factors associated with an individuals capacity to obtain and sustain employment. It also recognises issues external to the individual, such as labour market and economic factors.

The model identified four categories that effect employability
 
personal attributes;
structural aspects;
managing the labour market; and
personal circumstances.
 
As a result DEL is developing the “Targeted Initiatives” which will be implemented in so-called ‘unemployment black spots’ and will provide DEL and its partners with an opportunity to test various approaches to supporting those out of work. In addition, DEL is committed to piloting and developing labour market intermediaries.
 
8.6.3 Labour Market Intermediaries (LMIs)
 
This concept was developed in USA and at its most basic it involves jobbroking, where an agent acts on behalf of jobseekers and employers to match an individual to a job opportunity. However, LMIs also attempt to improve the supply of labour by addressing the specific skills needs of jobseekers in line with employers’ requirements, and influence the behaviour of employers towards a group of people that they may be disinclined to recruit.
LMIs also encourage employers to try to meet the needs of the client group by, perhaps, being more flexible around working patterns or offering placements and introductory trial periods. Some LMIs adopt a ‘demand-led’ approach, which focuses on improving the supply of labour to meet the requirements of a particular sector or employers.

These LMIs begin by developing a good understanding of the employers’ vacancies, skills requirements and so on and then set about matching jobseekers to these needs by training them specifically for the vacancies.
Employers therefore have a pool of ‘job-ready’ applicants from which to select and are not required to provide on-the-job training in vocational or soft skills.

LMIs provide intensive support to the client and the employer throughout the clients’ assessment and development, the job matching process and in the early period of employment. The aim is to get the client into the labour market and ensure they have the capacity to retain jobs and achieve promotion.
 
8.6.4 Conclusion
 
Within the recommendations of the West Belfast and Greater Shankill Task Forces, there is clear focus on developing appropriate interventions. Given its young population and the levels of generational unemployment within the area CNI believe that the area requires such support.
 
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Research evidence has highlighted the significant link between employability and the needs of the business community. In section 7.5, we have highlighted those interventions and measures which are being put in place to address the needs of those ready and willing to enter the labour market. This section seeks to set the context the demand side of the employment equation, namely the employment opportunities which could be developed as part of the CNI.
 

8.7.1 Context
 
The establishment of Invest Northern Ireland as the key agency of economic development in Northern Ireland brings a fresh approach to indigenous and inward investment activities.
Invest NI’s mission is:

“to accelerate economic development in Northern Ireland, applying expertise and resources to encourage innovation and achieve business success”.

The Agency has identified the following key strategic issues:
 
to grasp the opportunities of the global economy and technological age; and work with partners in business, education, research organisations, local economic development bodies and others in the private and public sectors to tackle the economy’s systemic weaknesses.

In addition to there are a range of specific measures which Invest NI have initiated to promote business development in Northern Ireland. These include:

‘Accelerating Entrepreneurship’, the ‘New Business Start Programme’ and the ‘Principles for Business Support framework’.

In the context of generating economic development in the Greater West Belfast area the Task Forces report states that while the downturn in global economies has caused significant impacts on local firms involved in the high
technology sector:

‘the Task Forces are insistent that their areas need to have greater participation in the new information and communications industries and that inward investment for the areas should be pursued vigorously.’

There is a clear need within Colin to continue to encourage new business start ups and assist existing businesses within the area to continue to grow. It will be important that the local business development should have four key
strands:
 
  • New Start business development;
  • Growing existing businesses;
  • New Inward investment projects; and
  • Development of the social economy.
 
The low base of businesses within the area presents immediate barriers to employment because it means that for a large proportion of the community that they must travel outside the area for employment. With low levels of car ownership this presents accessibility and cost issues for many in that community. In addition, the ‘chill factors’ associated with travelling into different communities for employment remains a significant personal safety issue for many within the Colin community.

In addition, the low levels of self employment and new start ups in the area is a challenge to the policy makers in DEL and DETI and the business support agency Invest NI. On the ground the role of the local enterprise agency within the area, Glenwood Enterprise Centre, is important at the awareness, pre-start, start up and growing stages of the micro business.

Ultimately new business creation will come from entrepreneurs from within the Colin area who see an opportunity to create personal wealth. These opportunities occur where there is a need for products and services and entrepreneurs can meet that need profitably.

Local investments in industrial and commercial property by local business could contribute to boosting local confidence and job opportunities.

Consideration should be given to:

establishing a commercial/industrial property development scheme; and
establishing a Business Investment Fund for investors in local businesses.

Such initiatives should assist in pump priming the micro economy of Colin and generate a sense of economic vibrancy. The need for retail and commercial premises in Twinbrook, Lagmore and Poleglass should provide a focus for some initial activities.
 
 
8.7.2 Conclusion
 
Unemployment, particularly long term unemployment is a blight on many disadvantaged communities. It is closely associated with other broader social issues which impact on disadvantaged communities i.e anti-social behaviour, crime. For the most part finding a job is a route out of poverty.

The key to addressing both short term and long term unemployment is through a vibrant and competitive local environment. This dynamic environment creates and supports businesses which require employees to fulfil key operational tasks. In the context of Colin the business base is small, there is a history of long term and generational unemployment and the provision of appropriate training has been patchy. There are also significant issues of low levels of literacy and numeracy among a significant number of the adult population. This presents major challenges to preparing young and older adults for the workplace.

It is proposed that the opportunities presented through the employability interventions and business development initiatives, both traditional and social economy projects, provide a reasonable basis for the Colin community.
 
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The social economy in Northern Ireland is a large and diverse sector. In many areas the social economy in Northern Ireland is more fully developed that in other parts of the UK and Ireland. Organisations and bodies which present social economy features include: credit unions, housing associations, enterprise agencies, community businesses and urban and rural regeneration groups.

In the social economy review by Colin Stutt, he defined the social economy organisations as those which:
 
  • have a social, community or ethical purpose;
  • adopt an explicit, market-based business model; and
  • have a legal form appropriate to a not-for-personal-profit status.
 
Social economy organisations tend to be flexible, close to their communities, focus on disadvantaged areas and groups and encourage participative management and consultative processes:
Stutt continues that ‘social economy solutions’ are distinctive and, in many cases, highly effective.
 
In addition they can:
 
  • create incomes, wealth and employment in disadvantaged areas and for disadvantaged communities;
  • provide employment and routes, or pathways, to employment in the mainstream labour market;
  • draw on volunteering and attract donations, which bring into play resources which would not otherwise be available;
  • advocate the needs of disadvantaged communities and areas;
  • provide a channel for public funds for disadvantaged areas and communities; and
  • make a major contribution to the development of social capital.
 
The concept of social capital is important to understanding the full impact and potential value of the social economy. Social capital can be thought of as the ‘glue’ which holds societies and communities together and helps them to cope with change, realise opportunities and handle adversity. Over the period of its development it has been the social capital of the former communities from which many Colin residents originally came i.e Clonard, Whiterock that has sustained the fledging Colin community over the period of the conflict. Some fear exist that this social capital asset is being lost in the context of the new situation and this presents a big challenge to leaders within Colin.

It is important to recognise that there is still a wide range of organisations which exist across Colin that fulfil a social economy ethos and function i.e Credit Union, Cloona House, Footprints Women’s Centre. These successes reflect the resourcefulness and commitment of many within the Colin community and are a good basis for further developments. The support for social projects within Colin is strongly supported by the local community and as this strategy is implemented support from statutory bodies will be very important.

The review of the needs and issues within the Colin community has identified some key challenges and opportunities which exist within the local community i.e. litter / general maintenance, community care. These needs provide the basis for the development of social economy projects which may also translate into viable community businesses employing local people in sustainable jobs.
 
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Recreation
 
Lack of appropriate facilities was one of the constant issues which was raised at all stages of the development of the Colin Neighbourhood Strategy. Many residents highlighted that communities with populations smaller than Colin i.e Moyle District Council were served with appropriate leisure and recreational facilities. The Brook Activity Centre built in the 1970s and located within the Twinbrook estate is the main indoor sport facility within the Colin area. The recent development of the Astro Facility at the Activity Centre has proven to be a successful development in terms of utilisation by groups and clubs, many of whom are from within Colin.

While the strategy was being developed there was no dedicated play facility in the Lagmore area; a community of several thousands. Within the broad Twinbrook estate which contains four Primary Schools (Scoil na Fuiseoige, St Luke's, St. Mark's and Queen of Peace) there is one playground. Within the Poleglass area there was no dedicated play grounds.

This level of provision across a community of almost twenty thousand raises significant questions for the key statutory bodies.
 
what is an acceptable level of play provision for a community of this size?
who is responsible for providing such facilities?
why have they not been provided?

These are the everyday issues for the families who live within Colin.
 
Sport
 
The role of sport in regeneration is being considered by the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The reality of life in Colin is that sport is an important element for many young people who play with local Gaelic and Soccer clubs. There are a number of GAA clubs which draw club members from the Colin community i.e St Johns, Mitchells and equally a large number of soccer clubs draw membership form the area i.e Donegal Celtic, Swifts. Such clubs provide a positive and healthy lifestyle option for young people who might otherwise become involved in anti-social activities. Colin Neighbourhood Initiative applauds the efforts of the many volunteers who give of their talents and time in encouraging and supporting local sports people. However there is a lack of provision and co-ordinated support for such activities.
 
Arts, Culture and Language
 
The Colin community recognises that there are challenges in relation to sense of belonging, sense of place and sense of identity. Given the rich community and cultural backgrounds of the residents of Colin, particularly older people from inner West Belfast, there is potentially a dormant cultural and community arts skill which remains untapped. While recognising the presence of local GAA clubs i.e Davitts, Mitchells etc, the absence of the traditional parish based GAA club and the lack of a vibrant community centre for such activities may have resulted in a lack of cultural focus within the community. Such a focus is a core ingredient in developing communities.

There is an ideal opportunity for a co-ordinated programme of culture and arts activities to be developed and delivered within the Colin community. Such initiatives might include greater involvement in Feile an Phobal (The West Belfast Festival) and Lisburn City Council Arts initiatives.
 
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While, the Colin community is showing clear signs of social stress, much of which is directed at car thieves, local; ‘hoods’ and increasingly drug dealers While many statutory, voluntary and community organisations work tirelessly in addressing these issues, there is growing frustration at the breadth and depth of the problems. There is also a recognition that these efforts are primarily addressing the symptoms and not the causes.

There is a willingness within the Colin community to find real workable solutions to community crime through community initiatives, interventions and support networks.

CNI also recognises that as a community one of the greatest threats to its cohesion over the next number of years will be the increase on the use of hard drugs within the community.
 
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Contact Us

Colin Neighbourhood Partnership
Cloona House
31 Colin Road
Poleglass
Belfast, BT17 0LG
Tel: 028 9062 3813
Fax: 028 9030 9722
info@newcolin.com

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