COMMUNITY PLANNING TO BE PILOTED IN OMAGH & FERMANAGH
15 November 2010
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council areas are to pilot a Big Lottery funded community planning project – one of only three areas in Northern Ireland to be awarded the grant
The pilot, which was launched by the Chairpersons of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Cllrs. Stephen Huggett and Declan McAleer, will run until December 2011.
Also in attendance were members of the “engage” consortium that will be delivering the pilot - Teresa Canavan and Tracey McNally from the Rural Development Council and Anne Monaghan from dcp strategic communication. Other members of the consortium include DPP, who are planning consultants, and streets-UK – an organisation with many years experience of community planning in Scotland.
Community planning has been operating in other parts of the UK for many years and is a process where the community, voluntary, statutory and private sectors become more involved in decision-making. Earlier this year, the bid for funding from Big Lottery to deliver the initiative across Fermanagh and Omagh Districts was successful and other pilots will run across Belfast City Council area and Derry and Strabane Council areas.
A critical part of the process will be bringing all sectors together and the creation of a Community Planning Forum – this will be the precursor to the Community Planning Partnership, which will be established once statutory powers for community planning are devolved to the local councils.
There will be an information day for people from both council areas in the Bawnacre Centre in Irvinestown on 15th December and all are welcome. At this event, members of engage will explain a little bit more about the project and local people can have their say on what issue the pilot should focus on, for example the economy, the social economy, transport, education, etc. For more information visit the engage website at www.engageni.com.
Welcoming funding for the Pilot, Councillor Stephen Huggett, Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, commented:
“engage has already made a presentation to the relevant committee in Fermanagh District Council and the Council is pleased that this Pilot will take place in the Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council areas. Community planning will play a major role in the future and I am delighted that it is now firmly on the agenda. While each District will have its own Community Planning Forum and will work on its own draft plan, we are excited that when legislation for community planning is in place, Fermanagh and Omagh will be at the forefront of this initiative”.
Chairperson of Omagh District Council, Cllr. McAleer commented: “Omagh District Council has long recognised the value of community planning and works in partnership with a range of stakeholders to develop a vibrant, sustainable community. The Council is pleased that this pilot Community Planning project will run within the Omagh District Council area. While each District will have its own Community Planning Forum and will work on its own draft plan, we are excited that when the statutory powers are devolved from the Executive, Omagh and Fermanagh will be ahead of the game”.
Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund’s Northern Ireland Director, said: “Changes in the public sector in Northern Ireland will affect the way services for local communities are delivered. The community planning process is an important part of this change and BIG wants to support and learn from this engagement process. The pilots awarded grants today will help the organisations involved to build stronger relationships and gain a fuller understanding of the community planning process in Northern Ireland.”
Teresa Canavan, Deputy Chief Executive of the Rural Development Council, who are lead partners within engage said: “The RDC is delighted to be involved as lead partner in the delivery of this pilot project. RDC has always believed that local communities are best placed to identify their own needs. This project is an excellent opportunity for the consortium to help Fermanagh and Omagh District Councils to engage with their communities, especially with those whose voices are not normally heard. The pilot also allows us to develop and test new approaches to increase communities’ involvement in the targeting and design of Government services and investment in their District.”
For more information, contact Anne Monaghan of dcp strategic communication on 02890 402296.