FOLLOWING the successful action plan recently rolling out in the Burrendale estate in Newcastle and in other local towns, the Down District Community Partnership (DDCSP) is now working with the East Down Rural Community Network to set up an anti-social behaviour action plan in Ardglass. It will be based on the needs that the ordinary people of Ardglass perceive as being important for their community.
The DDCSP will host a public meeting in Ardglass Community Centre on Monday 7th February at 7.00pm to consult the local community ahead of the design and implementation of the action plan for the area.
DDCSP Chairman Councillor Mickey Coogan is urging local people to use the meeting as an opportunity to highlight problems and issues within the area. He said, “Previous anti-social behaviour action plans in other areas across the district have proven to be very effective. However, the support of the local community has been paramount to that success.
“In order to develop an efficient plan, it is important that the people living in Ardglass, those who know best what the problems are, to come along and give us their views. The DDCSP will do its utmost to develop a successful action plan for the area, but it is imperative that the local community support the Partnership and other agencies in both the design and implementation of the action plan.”
There are a key number of issues in Ardglass that many local residents and business people would like to see addressed. Some are outstanding for a number of years. Bernie Finnegan, Chairwoman of Ardglass Youth Club, has already backed the action plan and said, ”
Crewhill estate resident Sid Wright also said, “I don’t want to mention specific issues. That is a matter for the people of Ardglass themselves when they come along to the public meeting and voice their concerns. I am involved as chairperson of the Ardglass Youth Club and the children are well behaved in the club as they are well supervised, and have enough activities to enjoy.
“I would have a concern where public money is directed at group’s of individuals in order to change their behaviour. I think it is better to use positive reinforcement and encourage good behaviour and show that this is where the young people should be moving towards.
“The ex-members of our club generally are well behaved and over the years I don’t fortunately think there have been many young people who have been seriously difficult as they grew older. We have the data and will be looking back over this to see if there are any trends we can pick out. Certainly there are issues similar to what other communities experience. ”
Also, Crewhill estate resident Sid Wright added, “I agree. It is up to local people to make their minds up where this action plan is to go. The people of Ardglass have to support this initiative. Along with the inter-agency support we will receive, there is considerable financial resources being made available to the community. We need to ensure that this initiative is properly focused and properly run.
“The action plan will not be long in getting put together and will be rolled out by the summer time when there is an increase in visitors to the area bringing its own issues. There are issues around the estates and late at night we are all familiar with. The elderly and disabled are particularly affected by antisocial behaviour. Perhaps this could all lead to a larger Neighbourhood watch scheme for Ardglass.”
The meting will touch on a range of areas affecting the Ardglass community such as local issues, community safety, local services, youth activities, community programmes and health and well-being.
A good turn out on Monday 7th February in the Ardglass Community Centre at 7.00pm is expected. Please be there to make your voice heard. Bring a friend. or neighbour. Your voice counts.