Minister pledges funding for ‘areas at risk’

PARTS of the borough deemed to be at risk of social and economic decline are set to benefit from a share of £1million of government funding.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland last week announced details of 10 new areas to receive support under the Areas at Risk Programme, including three in Newtownabbey.

The programme has already supported 27 areas in towns and cities across Northern Ireland. And the latest phase of the programme, first launched in 2006, includes areas within Carnmoney, Monkstown and Mossley, as well as others in Co Armagh, Co Antrim and Co Londonderry.

The initiative is targeted at areas that fall outside the 10 per cent most disadvantaged and are at risk of falling further into decline. It also focuses on interface areas and those ‘at risk of descending into instability and crisis’.

The programme has an annual budget of £1million up to year ending March 31, 2015, with each area receiving support for a maximum of two years.

“The Areas at Risk Programme provides assistance to communities that are at risk of social, economic or environmental decline. It is clear from feedback that I have received, and as a result of my visits to a number of communities, that this is a much needed programme that is helping to create stronger, communities which everyone can feel part of,” Mr McCausland explained.

Welcoming the announcement that local areas are to benefit from the latest phase of the programme, councillor Ken Robinson added: “This initiative will see three wards, which fall outside the standard 10 per cent Noble indicators measure, qualify for inclusion. Monkstown, Mossley and Carnmoney wards in my own University DEA will benefit from this commitment and those communities will be able to access up to two years support for schemes which will address economic, social or environmental decline.”