Brookfield joins Shared Community Programme

BROOKFIELD Combined Community Association (Banbridge) has been selected to participate in the Housing Executive’s Shared Communities Programme.

This is a three-year community led programme and Brookfield is one of the first of the four estates in the Housing Executive’s South area selected to participate.

The aim of the Shared Communities Programme is to develop communities where people choose to live with others regardless of their religion or race, in a neighbourhood that is safe and welcoming to all. It also aims to increase community awareness and respect for diversity, increase community dialogue, participation and bridging and to increase the resident’s satisfaction with the area as a good place to live.

A survey will be undertaken by the Housing Executive’s research team to find out the needs of the community. This will allow the Housing Executive to gather the views of people living in the area on topics such as their neighbourhood environment, the services provided for residents, shared space and community safety.

It is hoped that the results of the survey will allow the Community to identify any gaps in service provision in their area ranging from education, training, sport/leisure facilities, health services etc. It will also look for people’s opinions on shared space and facilities. Based on the results of the survey the Community association and the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Unit will develop a Good Relations Action Plan for the community.

Participation in the Shared Community Programme will provide access to funding for good relations projects in the area and neighbouring estates. This is aimed at bringing people from all backgrounds together to celebrate diversity and to increase community bonding.

Michelle Copeland, Chairperson of Brookfield Combined Community Association said “ We are particularly pleased to be selected to be part of this programme. We are looking forward to working with the Housing Executive on developing a good relations plan for the area and are grateful for any funding to help us support the plan”

Jennifer Hawthorne, Head of the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Unit, explained: “The Housing Executive welcomes the vital contribution being made locally by groups who work tirelessly to improve community relations and cohesion where they live and work. A lot of excellent work is already being carried out by these groups to develop relationships between and within communities and the survey will provide us with feedback on how best we can support this vital work”

The Brookfield group was set up in 2004 and became a constituted Association in January 2005. Since then Brookfield Combined Community Association has grown in strength and commitment to keep the area as safe and crime free as possible. They now traditionally host events for every season of the year, including summer barbeques, Halloween Witches and the giving of Easter eggs and Santa gifts.