Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Community Safety Group heads to Belfast for a Good Practice visit

On Tuesday 11th March the Edenmore Community Safety Group headed to Belfast for a Good Practice visit. Our destination was Ballysillan in North Belfast, which has a vibrant and dedicated community/voluntary sector. Some of the relevant areas they have been working on over several years has been some of the Community Safety concerns and issues facing them. The three key projects underpinning Community Safety in Ballysillan is the Good Morning Ballysillan service, the Alternatives Program and the Better Bonfire Management initiative. Joan Totten (Communty Worker/Activist) and William Mitchell (Project Worker) provided the group with an informative introduction/background to these initiatives and the impacts they have had locally. This provided an opportunity for the Edenmore Community Safety Group to see how things can be done if there is a committment, good resourcing and partnership approaches to working.

The Group returned to Edenmore with a real sense of the possibilities there are for addressing some of the fears at a local level in relation to crime and anti-social behaviour. Even the fear of crime itself can have a debilitating effect on communities - particularly the most vulnerable, such as older people and those experiencing social isolation. The Group felt that pursuing a service similar to the Good Morning initiative was something we needed to explore in greater detail. Also, with the annual problems casued by the Halloween bonfires here, it was felt by some that this also needed to be addressed. The group is continuing to meet and explore the ways they can reduce the impacts of crime, the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour in Edenmore.

The Group would like to extend a huge thank you to all those in Ballysillan who facilitated us on the day and made the xperience such a significant one. We're particularly grateful to Joan Tottens continued input through our ongoing conversations.

No comments: