New centre at the heart of the local community
THE QUEENS Park Women’s Group officially opened its new resource centre and youth club this week.
The group has taken over a former shop unit on Portland Avenue in Glengormley.
During the day it will be used as a resource centre for the group to continue to tackle housing and social problems for the Glengormley community, while at night it will transform into the 50/50 Project.
Every week night the centre will offer young people in Glengormley a place to gather in the hope they will build lasting friendships.
The aim of the centre is to help diffuse sectarian tensions between youths and end the violence which has dogged Glengormley at nights for years.
It will offer the young people in the area a range of activities as well as organising a number of outings to help build relations.
The Queens Park Women’s Group (QPWG) hopes the new centre will provide a permanent presence for them in the town to continue their hard work of building bridges in the community.
At the opening ceremony of the new centre, QPWG Chairwoman Ina McTaggart said: “This is an important time for Queens Park Women’s Group.
“We started off as a small group concerned with issues such as the decline of the area.
“Queens Park has a distinct lack of social and communal facilities that the community can use.
“This, in a small way, left the youth in the area with very little to occupy them and as the saying goes ‘the devil makes work for idle hands’.”
She continued: “Tensions over the past year between sections of youth in Glengormley concerned a number of community workers and with this in mind we decided to be pro-active and engage with the youth - initially from just the Queens Park area to see what their perception of living in Queens Park and Glengormley means for them.
“One message came through loud and clear. They were fed up of being picked up by various agencies parachuting in, working with them, and then parachuting out again.
“They were fed up with community workers dictating to them about what they need and they were fed up with adults deciding what was best for them.
“Through constant dialogue, preservation and dedication by a core of people we developed the concept of the 50/50 Project.
“This is for the youth and is worked in partnership with the QPWG, Glengormley Community Group and the young people who want to work for a shared future in Glengormley.
“The key is to letting the young people have an active say, from what facilities they can access to the courses they want to do.”
The group started off small and then became affiliated with the South and East Antrim Community Federation, working with outreach worker Stephen Ross to develop its capacity and build on social capital in the area.
At Wednesday’s opening ceremony (April 25), Ina also thanked a number of people for their help in establishing the new facility including former councillor Tommy Kirkham, local MLA Paula Bradley, PSNI Chief Inspector Stephen Reid, Inspector Martin Ruddy, councillor Mark Cosgrove and Catherine Hardy from the Glengormley Community Group.
She also thanked Samantha Drummond from funeral directors Browns, Houston and Williamson for donating a television to the group and Steven Nelson for decorating the office.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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