“The Newry Neighbourhood Renewal Area will be a safer place to live, where people respect and have pride in their neighbourhood, where education plays a central role in the development of young people, where residents have access to the best public services, where healthy lifestyles are fostered and promoted and where people develop and take full advantage of economic activity.”
The Newry Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership was established in February 2005, as an advisory body to the DSD. It is an inter-sectoral partnership, tasked with driving the delivery of the Department’s ‘People and Place’ Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy within Newry. The Partnership comprises members from the statutory, community/voluntary and private sectors. Each of the nine social housing areas within the Neighbourhood Renewal boundary have active community associations in place and all are represented on the Partnership.
The organisations involved are as follows:
- Carnagat Area CA
- Drumalane/Quayside Close CA
- Threeways CA
- Meadow & Armagh Road CA
- Greater Linenhall CA
- Barcroft CA
- Ballybot CA
- Derrybeg CA
- Martins Lane CA
- Department for Communitioes (DfC)
- Newry Mourne & Down District Council (NM&DDC)
- Education Authority NI (EANI)
- Southern Area Health and Social Care Trust (SHSCT)
- Southern Regional College (SRC)
- Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE)
- Newry and Mourne Enterprise Agency (NMEA)
- Confederation of Community Groups (CCG)
What is Neighbourhood Renewal?
Neighbour Renewal is about closing the gap between the quality of life for people in the most deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of society. Neighbourhood Renewal has adopted a long-term (10 - 15 year) approach to practical and co-ordinated action at a local level and has four interlinking strategic objectives of:
- Community Renewal – to develop confident communities that are able and committed to improving the quality of life in their areas;
- Economic Renewal – to develop economic activity in the most deprived neighbourhoods and connect them to the wider urban economy;
- Social Renewal – to improve social conditions for the people who live in the most deprived neighbourhoods through better co-ordinated public services and the creation of safer environments; and
- Physical Renewal – to help create attractive, safe, sustainable environments in the most deprived neighbourhoods.
This method of delivery requires a joined up approach by all government departments and agencies to ensure that services are better co-ordinated, funding is used effectively and is spent in an integrated and co-ordinated way. It means that effective partnerships need to be created between those providing public services and local communities who rely on them.
The city of Newry with a population of approximately 35,000, has experienced significant regeneration over recent years. Unemployment has fallen steeply and there has been more sustainable, independent and wealth-generating business created within the area than any other part of Northern Ireland. Newry has become a vibrant and busy city attracting people from all parts of the island of Ireland. This is particularly evident in retail, as Newry is firmly established as a premier shopping location.
Despite this, approximately one third of its residents (11,000) experience deprivation and the challenge under Neighbourhood Renewal is to target the people and the areas with a positive, modern and consultative approach to addressing issues.
Impact Of Neighbourhood Renewal
The Neighbourhood Renewal (NR) investment programme as an initiative has brought over £11.5 million of DfC investment into Newry since its inception in 2005. This programme of Government (‘People and Places’) has helped deliver a range of Revenue and Capital programmes which have transformed the nine communities within the NR areas.
To deliver the NR Action plan there is an established Partnership board with all members represented from the Community/Voluntary Statutory and Business sector. The NR partnership is underpinned by 4 thematic sub groups encompassing, Economic, Community/Physical, Health and Education. Each sub group is chaired by respective statutory bodies / lead agencies where all proposals are explored, agreed and presented to the partnership board for ratification. The NRP is a not a funding body but is responsible for identifying local priorities and work to influence and contribute to the determining of Government/ Department spending for their designated NR areas. They are expected to act as a vehicle for local planning and implementation
Through Education, Health, Community, Physical and Economic strands, local communities are availing of much needed resources.
Within education delivered by the EANI, Numeracy and Literacy skills have improved; most recent figures indicate that he percentage of pupils achieving the expected level for English and Maths at key stage 2 has improved, The gap in Mathematics from 14.2% to 10.7% and English from 15.6% to 11.2%. The percentage of school leavers with no GCSE’s from 13.4% to 5.2%. A new family learning centre has been built at St Malachy’s School and more recently (2016/17)a new Early Years centre has been established on the school grounds. Both facilities offer opportunities for young children and their parents to gain new skills and learning. 4 Parent and toddler groups and three homework clubs have also been set up and this a trend which hopes to be continued
The purchase of the annex next to the Magnet YAC to allow the workers to target more young people. This investment of £40,000 has helped to secure further funding from the Department for Education of £300,000 to develop and upgrade the building. A range of youth initiatives through the youth engagement programme have been funded to include personal and social development programmes in Magnet YAC, St John Bosco and Threeways, The respect programme and st Marys Youth club There has also been the development of a youth initiative where young people based in the Magnet YAC have availed of training in various computer and software packages. The programme also provides support for local NR schools both Primary and Post Primary. An I.T. programme delivering a wide range of computer and media equipment to the local NR schools. In St Joseph’s Boys High school the playing field has been transformed into a floodlit full size Gaelic pitch and a new Biometric scanner has been installed, introducing the new finger print technology within the school. This new system has also been installed in St Marys Girls High School. The new Count Read Succeed programme brings a further investment of £123,000 and will support parents to help with their children’s homework and educational development. Future proposals include, new 3g facilities at St Patrick’s Primary school and St Mary’s Girls High School, support for the Shared areas programme at St Joseph’s boys High School.
The Southern Regional College has delivered a successful Training Opportunities Programmes (TOPS) offering accredited beauty classes, construction, CSR training, car maintenance, essential skills training, creative arts, performing arts, personal development and driving lessons, I.T., Adult social care and training in Autistic spectrum disorder, Door supervision training which has helped local people to gain employment. Business management and business mentoring programmes, also the Three R’s HGV and PSV training and forklift truck training. The current programmes being delivered include the OCEANS offshore (BOSIET) training programme, providing specialist training in safety and emergency response procedures such as: fire fighting, first aid, helicopter safety and escape, safety induction and sea survival. Upon completion the participants will be fully ready for employment in the offshore industry. Another training programme is the Enterprise programme, supporting people to look at business start-ups and entrepreneurship. The SRC programme has proved to be successful in terms of making people job ready as members of the NR communities have secured 50 + jobs through the different training programmes
In health delivered by SAHSCT a range of physical activity programmes have been delivered for all age groups. To include gymnastics for children and dance instruction, dance fitness programmes, circuit training and personal training for adults .The Action Cancer Big Bus has been brought to local areas again supporting local need and has been successful in providing information to both men and women and also identifying some people who require onward referrals to GP’s. A range of training programmes are ongoing, Child Protection, First Aid, Defibrillator, Suicide awareness, and a programme exploring the impact of Obesity. A number of people have also attained training in Drug and Alcohol awareness and sexual health programmes have also been delivered to young people in the areas. A very popular training programme has been the IFA level 1 and 2 soccer coaching where over 120 local people availed of the training. Other programmes have included healthy eating for playgroups and parent and toddler groups and SHSCT in partnership with EA are delivering a healthy eating programme into all NR primary and post primary schools. This joint initiative has also delivered an Online reputation and cyber bullying awareness programmes within the local schools and the community. Another key imitative delivered through the health programme is The Action Cancer Big Bus which covers all 9 areas of NR
Within the community/physical strand delivered by Newry Mourne and Down District Council and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, a number of Capital projects have been completed. Playparks in Derrybeg, Mourneview, Emmet street and Martins lane and a new youth room built in the Meadow Armagh road community centre. A new Synthetic Pitch facility was opened in Threeways in High Street, the Derrybeg community centre and the Carnagat Kickabout area and the more recent projects delivered have been the upgrades at the Whitegates play area and the installation of wheelchair friendly equipment and access in Martins lane playpark. The three Community centres in Barcroft, Threeways and Meadow Armagh road have also been refurbished along with the playpark in Greater Linenhall. Additional storage has also been installed in the Meadow Armagh Road community Centre. Another project has been the very successful Newry Docker project. This programme was developed to celebrate the contributions of local people who worked on land and at sea serving the once thriving Newry Docks. The project also brought to life the memories of past dockers, sea farers, the wives and the wider community through the publication of a book aptly named, Newry, Water ships and Town. There has also been a large infrastructure programme encompassing the upgrading of the roads and footpaths in Carnagat, Derrybeg, Mourneview, Ballybot, Meadow Armagh road and Barcroft. New fencing has been erected at Derrybeg and Drumalane/Quayside Close and the Derrybeg pitch has also received new perimeter fencing. We are currently completing the new Community facility in Drumalane Quasyside with a proposed opening date of January 2018.
The Community associations have also enjoyed the Community renewal programme, again managed by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council where they have received the support of community workers employed by the Confederation of Community groups. They also receive running costs to help them maintain their centres and associations. The groups have also secured support where they have availed of a range of resources and equipment to support their programme of activity. Another new programme currently being delivered is the Outdoor Education programme with local communities availing of support to attend outdoor centres/facilities. Another aspect of this programme is the opportunity for local volunteers to gain qualifications in outdoor education/canoeing, hill walking etc. .
The NIHE have also delivered several projects within the NR programme to include car parking facilities in Barcroft, the Community house in Greater Linen hall has been refurbished and extended, refurbishment of the Linenhall arch and a proposal for an environmental scheme in Drumalane park. Another proposal includes an extension to the Carnagat community house which has seen an upsurge in community and youth work development in the area and the Community association now require larger premises to facilitate the larger numbers accessing the current provision
Within the Economic programme again managed by NMDC, the Newry and Mourne Enterprise agency is currently delivering the Education 2 Employment Programme (E2E).offering support to young people to develop new skills and opportunities for employment. Exploring entrepreneurship, with local community champions speaking to young people from the NR post primary schools. They also deliver the Codor dojo project to P7 children introducing them to the world of gaming development, highlighting the positive aspect of mathematics. Previous programmes delivered have been the Integrated Spacial Information System – looking at possible abandoned sites for re-development and also the Work 4 U youth employment programme (currently funded under the Lottery and rolled out across Newry and Mourne) also looking at the barriers to employment. Other projects have included a feasibility study in the Barcroft area exploring the possibility of a social enterprise within the grounds of Loanda house and the completion of more recent refurbishment works onsite in WIN Business Park, to include upgrade of road and footpaths, internal and external works and an upgrade to their I.T systems to ensure the complex is fit for purpose moving forward meeting the needs of local business.
All of these programmes have given the communities both a new physical appearance along with the development of the skills of local people. The community associations in partnership with local agencies continue to offer these programmes and the current action plan has inbuilt a range of actions to move forward into the future.
- neighbourhood renewal 3 year action plan 2017-2020