North Belfast poverty: ‘Without the community spirit of Ardoyne and Crumlin Road it’s scary to think where we would be’

A Community Partnership for Neighborhood Renewal says it is seeing an increase in poverty levels in its neighborhood.

The Crumlin/Ardoyne Neighborhood Renewal Partnership established a 10-year plan, from 2020 to 2030, in which community groups came together and highlighted some of the key issues in the region.

These included poor health, low skills and education, poverty, high unemployment, few opportunities for young people, poor community interfaces and relations.

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Speaking to Belfast Live, Gayle Dalton, Neighborhoods Renewal Co-ordinator, presented the figures they have obtained for their action plan.

“Over 15,000 people live in the Crumlin Ardoyne neighborhood renewal area. This includes the communities of Ardoyne, Cliftonville, Lower Oldpark, Marrowbone and Westland,” Gayle added.

“These are some of the most deprived communities in Northern Ireland. These are areas heavily affected by 30 years of conflict and physical barriers/walls of peace continue to divide communities.

“The area is made up of the Waterworks and Ardoyne wards and parts of the Crumlin and Cliftonville wards. Waterworks is number one most deprived and Ardoyne is number three most deprived out of 462 wards. This means the area is in the top 1% most deprived in Northern Ireland.

“Almost two-thirds of the area’s children live in child poverty. The median age of death in Crumlin/Ardoyne is 72, more than 8 years younger than the NI average.

“We are not naive enough to think we can reverse the trend of short-term poverty and disadvantage. This requires substantial long-term investment and the creation of community wealth. An area of ​​England with a population similar to the Crumlin/Ardoyne region received £50 million in investment over a ten-year period.

“This would allow us to attract additional investment and start reversing the curve of poverty and deprivation.

“From the action plan, we agreed on five key results for the region:

“1. Residents actively participate in economic life

“2. We live longer, healthier and more active

“3. We are a shared community that respects diversity

“4. We give our children and young people the best start in life

“5. We live in a safe community”

Gayle says there has been no capital investment in the Crumlin/Ardoyne area for 20 years, nor are there any major employers in the area.

With capital construction, Gayle says their team would be able to look into deals with construction contractors to hire young people.

She said: “We put young people through a lot of different classes to see if we can help them find something you like and want to stick with.

“In terms of poverty in the region, children are starving. Their parents are starving. I have been in food banks and the demand is high and until there is proper investment in these areas and jobs for local people, we can never get a handle on this.”

Communities Minister Deidre Hargey said she was delighted to have been asked to contribute to the Crumlin Ardoyne Neighborhood Renewal Partnership action plan.

Minister Hargey said: “I truly appreciate the impact of the dedicated people and community organizations that make up the Partnership, representing local communities and delivering high quality community services, working together to improve outcomes for all. the citizens of Quartier Crumlin Ardoyne.

Stormont Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey

“The key outcomes identified by the partnership align closely with the executive’s agenda for government and the department’s strategy for building inclusive communities, and this challenging and positive action plan helps identify key priorities. that will help guide services and investments as we continue to support people, build communities and shape places.

“I will continue to support the Crumlin Ardoyne Neighborhood Partnership as it works to improve the lives of citizens and communities through the priorities of this action plan, as we work together to address deprivation and inequality. .”

For more information on the work of the Crumlin/Ardoyne Neighborhood Renewal Partnership please follow here.

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