27/08/2008

Minister Ritchie Adds 'Personal Touch' to Omagh Visit

A pilot scheme to provide an emergency alarm system for people in social housing facilities has resulted in a 'hands-on' approach by an Executive Minister.

An Omagh resident warmly welcomed the Department of Social Development Minsiter, Margaret Ritchie into her home this week.

And like all good house guests, Ms Ritchie did not arrive empty-handed.

The Minister presented the Gallows Hill resident with an emergency alarm system.

Through the Department of Social Development's Neighbourhood Renewal plans, systems of this nature are being made available for people in Gallows Hill, Johnston Park, O'Kane Park, Campsie and Strathroy.

Regularly people who are quite capable and independent in most respects, can feel isolated and vulnerable sometimes due to circumstances beyond their control.

These emergency alarms will ensure that people in these circumstances have a dependable link to assistance for 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
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Speaking to local residents during her visit, Minister Ritchie said: "I am delighted to be here in Omagh today to meet with local residents from the Omagh Neighbourhood Renewal Area.

"I will continue to fully support them and their neighbour's efforts to ensure that these important communities retain their historic image as a safe and attractive area to live in.

"The personal alarm systems that my Department has sponsored, will ensure that people who feel vulnerable have dependable support should an emergency arise."

The Minister also visited the Neighbourhood Renewal scheme at the Mullaghmore Resource Centre and new play equipment in Campsie.

Ms Ritchie viewed the site of proposed work for Johnston Park: "I am pleased to see that significant work continues throughout the Omagh Neighbourhood Renewal Area.

"My Department is committed to ensuring the regeneration of deprived communities within our society.

"I intend to visit other estates within the Omagh Neighbourhood Renewal Area on my next visit to Omagh to see the work planned and being undertaken to help with the regeneration of those areas," she added.

(PR/JM)

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