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16th September 2016
By Margaret Cox, Glen Ward Community Development Association
The Glen Ward Community Development Association was established in 1989 with the aim of making a better place for the people of the Glen area of Newtownards. Back in the beginning, housing was the big issue and, while other problems have moved up the agenda in the intervening years, good housing is still a major concern.
Latest waiting list figures show that there are some 900 families, older and single people in need of a home in this area. The 79 new homes currently being built by Clanmil are very welcome and we have been working closely with Clanmil staff to ensure that the homes that they are building are the homes this community needs.
From the outset we have been closely involved with Clanmil’s plans. At our very first meeting, when they came along to tell us about their proposal to purchase the site of the old Killard school and build much needed new homes, Clanmil made that commitment to us. And, for our part, we have helped by showing support and keeping local people up to date as the development progresses.
Throughout the project – from the planning stages through to the build itself – I have been able to lift the phone at any time and talk to one of the Clanmil team. Having been part of the community association here for 27 years, and as a member of the NIHE Scrutiny Panel, I know the value of the relationship that we’ve developed. I also know that it doesn’t always happen this way.
And it’s not just about new homes. Clanmil’s vision, like ours, is for strong communities and its community development team are already active in our area. Local women have been taking part in a Clanmil employability programme, giving us a taster of things to come.
Don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t been all plain sailing. There have been ups and downs along the way. Some elements of the original idea have changed throughout the process, and while we’ve sometimes been disappointed, the fact that Clanmil has been upfront and always willing to talk to us and hear our views has helped keep our relationship on track.
The first of the new homes will soon be ready for handover and we are already talking with Clanmil about how we can work together to help the new tenants settle in. Fundays, information sessions and a grand opening are on the table and we are all looking forward to celebrating the completion of this fantastic development.
It’s fair to say that both Clanmil and I have put a lot of effort into developing this close working relationship over the past three years. But it has been well worth it. The Glen area will soon have 79 new homes and we are in a good place as we move onto the next phase – working together to ensure that this development truly strengthens our community.
Clanmil Housing has scooped two top prizes and a Highly Commended at the annual Housing Aw
Clanmil Housing Association held a Heat Your Home for Less information event this week as
An NI-wide community cinema initiative is stepping into Christmas with a range of movie sc