22/01/2009

Lammy Aftermath Tackled

A positive postscript has been revealed for a tragedy-hit Co Tyrone street which made worldwide news in 2007.

The NI Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie has just announced funding for a special project to address social issues associated with the Lammy Crescent tragedy in Omagh, which killed all seven members of the McElhill family.

A fire destroyed the family home - with them all trapped inside - and it was later revealed that the father, Arthur McElhill, a convicted sex abuser, was suspected of starting the fatal blaze.

The initiative has been developed in consultation with the community development worker for the area, the Western Education and Library Board and Omagh Women's Aid.

While visiting the area Margaret Ritchie said: "I met local people from Lammy after the tragedy that occurred there I was determined to support meaningful measures that would provide some assistance for them, particularly for women and children.
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"I am now delighted to provide funding of £32,149 through my Department to meet this objective. The main aim of the project is to provide discreet assistance for women and children who may feel under threat from domestic violence.

"However, recognising the needs of the wider community it will also make provision to enhance youth services in the West of Omagh and the production of an Action Plan to guide community development in the area over the next 10 years," she said.

The project will provide furniture and equipment at the Omagh Women's Aid Refuge.

A 'Helping Hands' programme, which addresses issues of bullying and domestic violence, will be delivered by Omagh Women's Aid to local primary school children and a dedicated youth venue will be provided within the OmaWest community venue at Strule Park and the WELB will deliver an accredited training programme to 15 young people.

The final element of the project is to undertake a needs assessment within the wider area and develop a strategic action plan to guide community development in the West of Omagh over the next decade.

See: Omagh Fire Victims Funerals This Saturday

(BMcC/JM)

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