Rathcoole Partnership vows to help community organisations find premises

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Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership has vowed to keep working with community groups in the area to help them find suitable premises.

According to a DSD-funded audit of Rathcoole community organisations carried out at the end of 2012, a number of local groups were struggling to find suitable facilities in which to meet and conduct their activities.

Now, more than a year later, it seems that some are still facing the same problems.

Independent consultants appointed to undertake the study in 2012 analysed feedback from 23 groups and facility providers and made a number of recommendations and points for consideration.

They concluded that while there are a considerable number of facilities available for wider community use across the estate, there are several barriers which hinder and limit accessibility to current facilities.

“Current management and facility ownership issues have impacted upon the availability of organisations to positively address facility access issues. The result of lease stipulations is that valuable facility assets are not being maximised,” the report stated.

The consultants recommended that Newtownabbey Borough Council and the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership enter into negotiations with the North Eastern Education and Library Board to explore the scope of having community representation on the youth centre management committee, ensuring that community interests and community focused provision can be enhanced.

This week, in response to concerns raised by the Newtownabbey Arts and Cultural Network, the Partnership has acknowledged that there are still a variety of local groups finding it difficult to secure suitable premises.

Chairperson of Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership, Cllr Billy Webb commented: “The Partnership has been working for the betterment of the whole of Rathcoole community since the formation of the Partnership in 2006. Community concerns have always been paramount and as a result of Neighbourhood Renewal there have been many successful projects and programmes and additional services gained for Rathcoole which operate to enhance the lives of the people living in Rathcoole. We commend the groups that are working in Rathcoole and the Partnership will do its very best to match the facilities in Rathcoole with the existing provision so that all groups can operate to their full capacity.”