A major community safety initiative has been launched in South Down. “Where is Your Child Tonight?” aims to tackle serious anti-social behaviour in areas of Newry and Downpatrick. The campaign is a highly visual one with the aim of raising awareness of parental responsibilities around preventing children from getting involved in anti-social behaviour or criminal activities.
The Ballymote area in Downpatrick and Carnagat area in Newry have both been suffering from continued anti-social behaviour especially in terms of bottle and stone throwing. The communities from both areas are working with a range of agencies such as the Housing Executive, the Council, and Translink. Together they decided to implement “Where is Your Child Tonight?” in order to support parents and children and to improve their estates for the benefit of all the residents.
As part of the project, 15,000 flyers will be delivered door-to-door and 750 posters will be displayed in each area raising awareness of the dangers and consequences of anti-social behaviour.
Comghal McQuillan, Housing Executive South Regional Manager said, “We are committed to building stronger communities and we always strive to make people’s lives better. It is unfortunate that anti-social behaviour is an aspect of life in some areas, but with positive action and engagement with local parents, we can help steer young people in our community along a better path.”
Supporting Communities, who is involved with both groups in terms of support, was represented at the launch. Conor Flanagan, Operational Services Manager, commented: “Supporting Communities continues to provide independent support to the communities and agencies with which we engage and we are delighted to have been involved in working with the Groups and the Housing Executive in supporting the development of the project in order to help deal with anti-social behaviour.”
Paula McGuigan from Carnagat Area Community Association remarked, “Stone throwing has been a very serious and dangerous issue in this area and the message needs to be sent that anti-social behaviour is not acceptable”.
Lisa Perry from the Flying Horse Ward Community Forum added, “We’re always keen to reduce anti-social behaviour in Ballymote and this initiative is an excellent way of bringing the issue to the attention of local parents”.