Greater Village Regeneration Trust

Renewing the Village Area of South Belfast

 

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Extracts from the Chairman's 2006 report perhaps sum up the efforts and journey of  Greater Village Regeneration Trust from small beginnings to a vastly developing community organisation in the heart of the Village area of South Belfast.

Tommy Morrow, Chairman of the organisations reflects:

“When I think back to the inception of the Trust in 1999, and of all the hopes and aspirations of all the contributors to the Greater Village Regeneration Framework Plan, it was hard to imagine that we would achieve so many of our objectives in such a short space of time”.

The Trust initially established in response to increasing concerns within the area in relation to housing conditions as part of a collective community decision. This approach ensured the facilitation of a more holistic, galvanised approach to the regeneration of the area.

The chairman covered key points of the last years development of the organisation such as in 2006, the Trust established its M.O.V.E (Monarch Olympia Village and Empire) Community Housing Co-operative.  The principle of this programme is to further working relationships with organisations such as the housing executive and local housing associations to enhance the housing conditions for local people through a share scheme which will in building members create the opportunity for local people to buy and modernise local properties to be rented to local people.  More concisely as described by Tommy Morrow “the community felt that there was a place for a self-managed and self-funded organisation that can provide affordable, rented accommodation for local people” In the development of this project the renovation of an almost derelict property has produced a working premises for a Credit Union providing jobs with living accommodation above having now been rented to a local family.

The Trust holds key to its performance the development of a community; a bases whereby we represent the communities views, values and changing culture. In efforts to achieving this the Trust has linked its environmental projects into local schools with one recent example being the facilitation of Steven Tunley to work with Donegall Road Primary School to produce a photo montage of Ruby Murray using images of the schools pupils which now holds pride of place on the side wall of the Credit Union for the community to take ownership. “The Youth project is also proving an effective mechanism for engaging and supporting local people, in this case 14-25 year olds, in delivering neighbourhood renewal.  The highlight of the year was the Summer Scheme, which proved to be a great learning experience for the Youth Forum” Tommy Morrow.

The Trust formulated not only to help drive forward change in the physical but also the visual aspects of the area have over 2006/2007 given areas such as Blythefield Park particular attention with the Donegall Road Environment Improvement Scheme developed in conjunction with a number of community organisations within the area has continued to target those issues that detract from people’s enjoyment of their area.   In particular 20 inner city allotment plots were established, nineteen of which have been allocated to local people with one plot designated for community use.

 

Efforts of the Trust are not enough when centralised on the physical and visual aspects of the area alone, the Trust founded to take a galvanised approach to area improvement in doing so also aims to drive forward economic change through the development of social enterprises and training schemes, to educate and employ or facilitate the obtaining of skills to assist in gaining employment. The development of our projects such as the Employment Action Programme and the Wood Working Skills and Personal Development Scheme are continually being enhanced to better prepare local people for work from ages 16+ with each year  since there formulation growth rates in participate numbers rising considerably.

 

2007 has saw the newest of the Trusts Social Enterprises; SUP-EX (Superior Exterior) providing employment for two local people and New Deal Placements to aid in the rehabilitation of individuals into the work climate. This Power Washing and Gravity removal service combines the Trusts aims to visual improve the wider area and give economic boost through the development of increased employment opportunities within the area. Very much in the expansion stages the Trust hold many plans for the future expansion of this project in aiding the development of the Greater Village Area.

 

 

The Greater Village Regeneration Trust exists to galvanise local efforts: to articulate and deliver sustainable regeneration in this community of the city of Belfast.”