Empowering people to participate in the decisions that affect them

The Draft Community Plan seeks to empower people and encourage them to participate in the everyday life of their local community.

With that aim in mind, residents of Lisburn and Castlereagh are being urged to help the Strategic Community Planning Partnership shape the vision for community planning in the council area over the next 15 years.

This week we look at the fifth and final theme of the draft plan - ‘Our Community’.

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“The previous outcome ‘Where We Live’ was all about the physical environment – the ‘hardware’ of community. This outcome is about the ‘software’ of community: the things that contribute to building everyday relationships based on respect, solidarity and working for the common good,” the document states.

“Much of this is about empowering people to participate in decisions that affect them, to be actively engaged with Community Planning partners in delivering services such as care or leisure facilities, for example.

“It is also about participating in the everyday life of the community: in sport, in the arts and or simply spending time with friends and neighbours.

“Feeling safe is vital for wellbeing including for people from minority ethnic groups who can be more vulnerable than most. It is important that everyone is welcomed in a place where diversity is celebrated and everyone belongs. Good relations across traditional divides cannot be taken for granted either, so the plan aims to actively support harmonious communities.”

The plan lists a number of desired outcomes between now and 2032, including:

Lisburn Courthouse.

• Public services are enhanced through co-design and co-production.

• There is widespread participation and volunteering in public and community life, arts, culture and sport by people of all backgrounds.

• There is community ownership and management of local assets and facilities.

• We identify positively with our local neighbourhoods: urban, suburban and rural.

• Diversity is celebrated and there are good relations between people of different backgrounds and identities.

• Crime and anti-social behaviour is reduced.

The draft plan also proposes a number of short-term actions to be progressed over the next two years. They include developing a series of Community Hubs as a focus for community support, local volunteering and civic activity; creating a new scheme to address isolation and exclusion; implementing a Good Relations Programme; and developing proposals for Lisburn Courthouse as a centre for community safety and justice.

• Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is currently carrying out a district-wide public consultation process as it seeks residents’ views on the Draft Community Plan.

Lisburn Courthouse.

Copies of the document can be downloaded from the council’s website - www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk - and people can email responses to [email protected]

The public consultation period will end at 5pm on March 13.