£45million investment will help build thriving neighbourhoods – Ross and Fearon

Date published: 22 September 2016

Junior Ministers Alastair Ross and Megan Fearon today launched strategic frameworks for five areas set to benefit from a £45million Urban Villages initiative.

Junior Ministers pictured with pupils outside Girdwood Community Hub
Junior Ministers pictured with pupils outside Girdwood Community Hub

Speaking at the event at Girdwood Community Hub in Belfast, Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “I am delighted to launch the Urban Villages Strategic Frameworks today in Belfast. The Frameworks are designed to improve good relations and develop areas with a history of deprivation and community tension. They highlight ways Government, working in tandem with local communities and other stakeholders, can make a tangible difference for the better. Local people have told us what they want to see in their neighbourhoods and we have listened. This process has mobilised communities and harnessed a collective vision for what can be possible.

“Four Urban Village areas in Belfast as well as one in Londonderry will benefit from this particular initiative. It is a significant programme which will deliver £3.6million of investment into capital projects by the end of this year, making life better for all those communities and neighbourhoods.”

Junior Minister, Megan Fearon said: “Some of those areas have a long history of deprivation and economic challenges but they are places with strong community bonds and people who want a better future. 

“Across five locations we intend to deliver a £45million capital programme over the next four years. This will be supported by significant revenue investment to undertake a wide range of projects to improve the physical appearance of areas, build capacity for the local community and foster positive community identities.

“In Belfast, four areas will benefit; Ardoyne and Greater Ballysillan in North Belfast, Colin in West Belfast, the lower part of the Newtownards Road in East Belfast, and Sandy Row, Donegall Pass and the Markets areas of South Belfast. This targeted investment will help transform these into thriving places which support people and communities in realising their potential.”

The fifth Urban Village area is in Bogside, Fountain and Bishop Street in Derry~Londonderry. The event also presented the collaborative work that has taken place with local communities and partner organisations.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Urban Villages Strategic Framework is a headline action within the NI Executive’s Together: Building a United Community (TBUC) Strategy.
  2. For further information or to download copies of the Strategic Frameworks, please visit the TBUC section of TEO website.
  3. The Urban Villages Initiative is designed to improve good relations outcomes and develop thriving places where there has been a history of deprivation and community tension. It has three inter-connected aims, to foster positive Community Identities, to build Community Capacity, and to improve the Physical Environment.
  4. The Strategic Frameworks present key findings and propose high level actions from a comprehensive process of information gathering, analysis and engagement. They seek to build on what is working, rather than a focus on deficits in these places. The Frameworks are intended to provide a reference point for a wide range of stakeholders in order to identify opportunities to collaborate around TBUC objectives and shared PfG outcomes and indicators.
  5. The five Urban Villages areas are, Ardoyne and Greater Ballysillan (North Belfast), Colin (West Belfast), EastSide – Newtownards Road, between Bridge End and Grampian Avenue (East Belfast), Sandy Row, Donegall Pass and the Markets areas (South Belfast) and the Bogside, Fountain and Bishop Street (Derry~Londonderry).
  6. Media enquiries to TEO Press Office on 028 9052 1905. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number on 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.
  7. Follow us on Twitter @niexecutive

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