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31 August 2016
By Gerard Rosato, Clanmil Community Cohesion Officer
Visit Harbourview apartments in Sailortown and you will find 58 modern dockside homes set in one of Belfast’s most historic areas - an area where there was once a close knit, bustling community that sadly declined in the 1960s due to urban redevelopment.
These homes are the only social housing developed in the area for over 100 years and a major challenge is the restoration of community infrastructure and the development of new facilities for the families who now live in Sailortown.
At Clanmil we want everyone to have a great home in a strong community and as a Community Cohesion Officer, it’s my job to support our tenants to develop more sustainable and cohesive communities. Over the past year I’ve been working closely with our tenants at Harbourview and the positive impact of this focussed community development work is being felt by everyone who lives there.
An after school club now brings primary school children living at the scheme together in the afternoons to work on arts and crafts projects and play games. Thanks to funding from Sport NI, a weekly Multi-Sports Club regularly attracts up to 25 young people for ball games, table tennis, circuits and mini golf. These initiatives have had a positive impact on general behaviour and low level anti-social behaviour at the scheme has decreased.
Over the summer months a gardening project, summer schemes and a street festival maintained the momentum. But the project with the most impact so far has been the creation by the children of colourful street art reflecting what Sailortown means to them. The young people involved now feel a real sense of connection to their area and their parents are so proud, not only of what the kids have achieved, but also of the mature way in which they approached the project.
So where do we go from here? There is a real buzz around Harbourview now. It feels like it is growing as a community and our relationships with our tenants there are much stronger than a year ago. All are now 100% behind the community development work and together we are exploring other activities that will help make the area an even better place to live.
In the longer term we are working with Sailortown Regeneration Group and Belfast Harbour Commissioners to secure the use of nearby derelict land that we can ‘green over’ and turn into recreational space. I’m also determined to attract more outreach support and services into the area as well as ensuring that Sailortown is not forgotten in broader North Belfast Community Development initiatives.
An ambitious agenda you may say! But I know that with the active support of the families who live there, Harbourview as a community can go from strength to strength.
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