Dunmurry residents have their say on shared neighbourhood

THE results of a neighbourhood survey in Dunmurry have been presented to community representatives and other interested residents and groups at a public meeting in the community centre at Fullerton Park.

The survey was carried out by members of the local community, with the support of the Housing Executive and Supporting Communities NI, as part of the Shared Neighbourhood Programme.

The results will enable the Dunmurry community to build on the good relations work they have developed over the years between people from different races and religions. The findings show that Dunmurry is nearly three quarters owner-occupied and the most favourable aspects are good location, friendly area and good access to local services.

The results found that 42% thought community spirit was good–excellent and 80% found Dunmurry a good place to live. The full survey report can be found on the NIHE website.

The Shared Neighbourhood Programme is three year pilot programme aimed at supporting and encouraging shared neighbourhoods across Northern Ireland. It is mainly funded by the International Fund for Ireland and delivered by the Housing Executive.

The programme aims to develop shared areas where people choose to live with others, regardless of their religion or race, in a neighbourhood that is safe and welcoming to all.

Raj Thompson, the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Advisor in the South East Area, has been involved in supporting the Dunmurry community.

“The Shared Neighbourhood Programme commenced in Dunmurry in May 2010,” explained Raj. “The survey, which was completely confidential, was developed by the local community group in conjunction with the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Unit, Lisburn District Office and Supporting Communities NI. The survey helped us to gather the views of people living in the area on topics such as their neighbourhood, the services provided for residents and the issue of community safety.

“Under community cohesion, the aims are to create safer stable shared neighbourhoods where strong positive relations can be developed between people from different backgrounds.”

He also highlighted the benefits of the Shared Neighbourhood Programme. “The Shared Neighbourhood Programme provides the Dunmurry community with access to grants to celebrate diversity and bring together people from all backgrounds. They have developed a busy and active programme of events in 2011. The community will have access to community relations training and there will be implementation for their own Good Relations and Community Development Plan.”