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Ballymena Community Unite to Develop Good Relations Opportunities

21 Mar 2022

Radius, Triangle, Choice and North Belfast Housing Associations came together with local politicians, community representatives and a wide range of service providers to hold its first joint Ballymena Shared Housing Advisory Group meeting.

The event, held in the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena, witnessed 40+ attendees coming together to discuss the development of the Good Relations Plans for the St Patrick’s site, Linenhall Street, Market Road, Broadway Avenue, Doury Road and Galgorm Road shared housing developments.  The theme for the event was ‘Five-years - Five- miles’, a reflection of the Plans’ longitudinal delivery period and the five-mile area of benefit for communities situated within a five-mile radius of the shared housing developments.   

The event was opened by Richard Mealey, Choice Housing Community Development Manager, who unveiled the new Ballymena Advisory Group logo.  Harry Maher, DfC Shared Housing Manager, and Chris Davis, Housing Executive Together: Building a United Community Cohesion Officer, provided an update on the Shared Housing Programme which is now delivering 59 shared housing developments across NI.   

Both Radius and Triangle Housing Associations provided an overview on the development and delivery of the shared housing schemes’ Good Relations Plans, including Triangle Housing’s overview of their successful Participatory Budgeting Programme.  Participants then broke-out into working groups to look at thematic approaches for inclusion to the Plans. 

Richard Mealy said:

“This is an exciting venture, as it is the first time that six shared housing developments have merged under one Advisory Group.  The Advisory Groups are a key component to the success of the schemes as they help to embed the shared ethos while supporting the development and delivery of the Good Relations Plans.”

Grainne Mullin, Radius’ Community Investment Manager, said:

“It is heartening to see such enthusiasm from the Advisory Group members who are representatives   from a  broad range of organisations including local politicians, local schools, Third Sector Organisations and the Good Relations Officers from both the Housing Executive and Mid and East Antrim Council.  This is only the start of a concerted good relations drive in the Borough.”

The Department for Communities and the Housing Executive are supporting six shared housing developments in the Mid and East Antrim Borough, realising an investment of approx. £23M, and delivering approx. 220 new homes.  

The Shared Housing Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community (T;buc) Strategy.  The T:buc Strategy outlines a vision based on equality of opportunity, the desirability of good relations and reconciliation. The Strategy provides the framework for government action in tackling sectarianism, racism and other forms of intolerance while seeking to address division, hate and separation.

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