‘Sharing’ on the agenda in Greater Whitewell
Published: Mon, 2 Jun 2014
A survey carried out as part of our Shared Communities Programme has highlighted a desire for ‘sharing’ in the Greater Whitewell area.
The survey, which covered the Fairyknowe, Graymount, Longlands, Lower Whitewell, Throne and White City areas of North Belfast, was undertaken by the Housing Executive’s Research Department and measured levels of satisfaction with local facilities and services. It also assessed attitudes to community relations and community safety, identified activities/services that could be provided at a local level and areas of work needed to develop and implement a Good Relations Plan.
The vast majority of people who completed the survey (93%) were in favour of sharing educational facilities such as after schools clubs, school grounds or shared school programmes.
More than four fifths (85%) were also in favour of funding being sought for the development of a multi-purpose community resource centre at the Ballygolan Primary School site. Over three fifths (61%) also said they would be interested in taking part in activities/programmes provided at such a centre; a further 20% said they might be interested in the future.
An even greater number (93%) said they would be willing to share such a space with residents who were from a different community background. 91% of respondents also said they either frequently or sometimes mix with people from a different community or religious background.
Of the people who returned their survey, almost two thirds (65%) were either very satisfied or satisfied with Greater Whitewell as a place to live. 49% also said they would live in a new housing development, where units were allocated on a cross community basis, with a further 14% saying they might in the future.
Speaking about the results, Jennifer Hawthorne, Head of the Housing Executive’s Income Collection and Neighbourhoods Unit said:
“Surveys like this help us to see how people currently perceive the area in which they live and I have to say the findings have been extremely positive. With the vast majority of people surveyed already mixing with people from different backgrounds and almost half willing to live in a cross community housing development, the future looks very bright indeed for the Greater Whitewell area.
“The completion of the survey will also allow us to move forward to the next stage of the programme which is to develop a Good Relations Plan which will support and build on the valuable work already being undertaken in the Greater Whitewell area.
“Finally I would like to thank all the people who took the time to fill out and return their survey, their input is greatly appreciated and will help shape the future of their local area.”
Geraldine O’Kane from the Greencastle Community Association:
“This survey gave local people an opportunity to express what they feel is good about their area and equally as important what is needed. While in general people seem fairly happy with services and facilities in the Greater Whitewell area, it is evident that they feel there is a lack of youth initiatives and that more needs to be done to engage young people.
Perhaps the development of a multi-purpose community resource centre at the Ballygolan Primary School site would be one of the ways in which this could be achieved - it is something we currently don’t have and is definitely something that everyone could benefit from.”
Brian Dunn from the White City Community Development Association echoed those sentiments and added:
“A survey like this really does give a voice to local people. One of things that struck me was how safe people feel in the area, both walking round the area during the day and in their own homes at night – I think that bodes very well for the future of the area.
“I was also delighted to see how many people already mix with people from different communities and who would be willing to live in a cross community housing development. This demonstrates that people living in the Greater Whitewell area have a real commitment and desire to move forward in terms of sharing.”