Published: Wed, 19 Nov 2014
Addressing the problem of stone throwing in the Carnagat Road area of Newry proved vital for the local community after a Translink driver was injured in one incident and the service was under threat of withdrawal.
Realising an innovative approach was needed the Carnagat Community Association used comic art based workshops to work with young people in the area to create the comic book ‘A Stone’s Throw Away…put an end to it now!.
‘A Stone’s Throw Away’ highlights the dangers of stone throwing and the consequences in a variety of real life scenarios affecting a range of people. It shows how a group’s day out could be ruined and the potential effects on other drivers including a learner.
The Community Group’s effort was fully supported by the Housing Executive, Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) and Translink as an original way of getting this important message across. They recently gathered at the launch of the comic which will be distributed across the area.
Local community representative Paula McGuigan is thrilled with the comic’s production on what is an extremely serious subject. She said:
“The input from the young people into this has been vital to the final product as they are the key to getting the message across that stone throwing at vehicles is both dangerous and unwanted in Carnagat.
“On behalf of the Community Association I’d like to thank the Housing Executive, SELB and Translink for their support of our initiative, it is much appreciated.”
One young person who participated, Danielle Markey, felt that the project was ‘very worthwhile for the community’ and went on to say...
“Stone throwing has been a major problem in our area for a long time. I am pleased that I have had the opportunity to take part in the project and everyone really enjoyed the time we spent together creating the comic book."
Speaking at the event Lorraine Campbell (Housing Executive’s South Region Manager) expressed her delight with the publication calling it ‘innovative’ and ‘exciting’. She went on to say:
“I am so pleased to be at the launch of this terrific publication. The Housing Executive was delighted to lend its support to the comic’s development. I hope it will prove a useful tool in combatting this dangerous behaviour.”
Aideen McCormick, Deputy Head of SELB Youth Service, echoed these sentiments saying:
“The Youth Service was fully supportive of this project and was delighted with the new and developmental nature of the partnership. We fully appreciate the efforts of the young people involved to address issues in their own community and commend them on their success.”
Meanwhile, Gerry D’Arcy, Inspector, Ulsterbus Newry commented:
“We are delighted at the innovative steps that the Carnagat Community Association has taken to highlight the serious issue of stone throwing in the area and the potential impacts this could have on our passengers and employees. As well as the risk of inconveniencing members of the community through services being suspended, there is also the serious psychological impact on drivers and customers to consider.
“We would ask community members to play their part in staying safe by reporting any incidents of vandalism or assault against our vehicles or staff members and if they are willing to go to court to give evidence that helps to secure a conviction, we offer a cash reward of up to £1,000.”