People first a must for true empowerment and partnership that works
The launch of the North Lurgan & Drumgask Community Safety Engagement Forum (C.S.E.F) on the 3rdof September 2020 was the result of hard work from local people. It was the residents who through meetings, presentations, surveys and consultations who gave the green light for this project. The residents only ask was to be at the heart of the project.
For us in CRJI this was an easy ask, for we believe that the inclusion of residents in every aspect of the issues that impact on them is a must. This is one of the cornerstones of empowerment.
Having now launched what we see as a potentially strategic partnership it is vital that we set about planning and then delivering on the residents major concerns. During the engagements that led to the setting up of the C.S.E.F the concerns of the local people surfaced quite quickly. The priorities were the impact and extent of the illegal drug trade and anti social behaviour. While these are the top two priorities there is a range of other issues that impact on the safety of residents.
It will be down to residents and partners of the forum to start to reflect these concerns in a plan and attract good will from those who are currently working in the areas to lend a hand and put the shoulder to the wheel. Where statutory intervention is called for communities will need to be supportive, where community intervention is the choice then we must step up to the mark.
The community is committed to making things work. However, commitment alone will not be enough. We must decide on our collective journey, we must select the how, what and when and most of all we must be clear that safer communities are for all. By being inclusive, by being responsive and tolerant we will set in place an ethos that will create positive responses that can change behaviours in a supportive and safe manner. Safer communities are the goal of all. So lets not waste time, build, build, build.