11/02/2004

Derry Council welcomes Neighbourhood Renewal Initiative

A major new initiative that aims to address the needs of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the city has been welcomed by Derry City Council.

The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy, which is being taken forward by the Department for Social Development through the North West Development Office, will target large parts of Derry that have been designated among the most deprived in Northern Ireland.

The strategy, 'People and Place', was presented to Derry City Council on Monday by the Department’s North West Development Officer, Declan O’Hare. Mr O’Hare told councillors that the Department proposed to focus most of its neighbourhood renewal funding at the top 10% of disadvantaged areas and to commit support to those areas for ten years.

Welcoming the initiative, Derry Mayor, Shaun Gallagher said: "The Department for Social Development is to be congratulated for bringing forward this neighbourhood renewal strategy in a way which gives local communities a greater say over how the needs of their neighbourhoods are to be met.

"I welcome the inclusive approach being proposed, in particular the role envisaged for the Council, working alongside the North West Development Office and others to ensure an integrated approach to improving the quality of life for people in our disadvantaged neighbourhoods."

All parties on the Council welcomed the new strategy, under which areas including the Bogside, Creggan, Fountain, Shantallow and the Waterside will be encouraged to create neighbourhood partnerships which will be tasked with developing local action plans to tackle the priority needs of their communities.

The North West Development Office will provide assistance and financial support to the neighbourhood partnerships, as well as providing funding to help implement the action plans. Other Government Departments will be urged to also direct additional funds towards meeting the needs of the targeted neighbourhoods.

(MB)

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