NEWTOWNABBEY Borough Council is to invest almost £40,000 in a civic pride campaign over the next three years in a bid to improve environmental and social conditions in communities across the borough.
Members of the local authority’s Environment Committee gave the initiative their backing earlier this month, and that decision was ratified by full council on Monday night (January 28).
The Civic Pride programme is a new initiative being developed by the Public Health Agency, TIDY Northern Ireland and Volunteer Now in partnership with local councils to build a sense of civic pride by promoting ownership, responsibility and active participation within local communities.
The three-year programme will support a three pronged approach - a regional public information campaign highlighting the benefits to individuals, communities and businesses of keeping their communities and shared spaces tidy and litter free; facilitating and supporting volunteering by individuals and groups to actively clean up and maintain their local areas and shared spaces; and a ‘menu of opportunities’ for local communities and councils from which projects such as clean-ups, development and maintenance of green spaces and gardening and community arts projects could be selected.
Funding for the £1.8million scheme will be provided by the Public Health Agency, the Department of the Environment and local councils. However, the level of funding will be dependent on the number of councils that support the programme.
Responding to queries from committee members regarding the local benefits of the scheme, Hugh Kelly, Director of Environmental Services, pointed to plans for a regional anti-littering TV advertising campaign and stressed that a significant proportion of the £39,000 being committed by the council will be reinvested in community clean-ups and other projects within the borough.
Voicing his support for the funding approval, DUP councillor Robert Hill described the initiative as “a great idea that the council would be daft to turn down.”
Councillors backed the committee’s decision to support the Civic Pride programme, subject to the council’s contribution remaining at the amount quoted of £13,000 recurring for three years.