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Ritchie launches first shared housing scheme for North-West families

Published: Fri, 26 Jun 2009
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Jennifer Hawthorne spoke at the launch
Jennifer Hawthorne speaking at a Shared Neighbourhood event
Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie MLA, today officially opened a new shared future housing scheme in Sion Mills.
This is the first ‘new build’ scheme of its kind for families in the North West. The Minister sees housing as an important route to a shared future in Northern Ireland.
She visited the families in their new homes at Ballyfatton Close which are owned and managed by Habinteg Housing Association (Ulster) Ltd, working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
Margaret Ritchie said: “When I launched the New Housing Agenda, I made it clear that I wanted to provide housing solutions that would bring people together. The Ballyfatton Close housing scheme launched today is helping to make that vision a reality.
“The residents of Ballyfatton Close have made a public declaration that this is a community where people can live and work side by side. A community where children can play and learn together irrespective of their religious, ethnic, political or cultural background.
“I am very aware that Sion Mills has a long and proud history of good community relations. This scheme represents another step on the journey to a shared and better future for all. I have said it before and I will say it again, a shared future is the only way forward for Northern Ireland.”
The scheme includes 20 dwellings, providing a range of accommodation from three bedroom family homes to mobility bungalows.
The properties were allocated to applicants strictly on the basis of housing need. Representatives from Habinteg, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the local community, met with prospective tenants to discuss the principles of a ‘Shared Future’. All residents confirmed their choice to live in a neighbourhood committed to sharing by signing up to a voluntary ‘Neighbourhood Charter’ in which diversity is welcomed and respect and tolerance is shown to all.
There are 20 dwellings in the scheme comprising six houses for five persons with three bedrooms, four houses with two bedrooms for four persons, six apartments for three persons with two bedrooms and four mobility bungalows with two bedrooms for three persons. All properties are built to Lifetime Homes standards, Secured by Design and Part L of the building regulations.
Find out more about the Shared Future Programme