This week in The CT, a selection of community workers and representatives look back at 2009 and talk about their hopes for the coming year.
Mayor of North Down Tony Hill
“I have enjoyed a very busy six months as Mayor and am very grateful for the privileged insight the role has given me into community life in North Down.
“I have enjoyed meeting local residents, young and old, and visiting many fantastic community and charity projects that are making a difference to the lives of people across the borough. It has also been a great pleasure to welcome many people to our Town Hall including visitors from America, Bulgaria, Italy and Hungary.
“Over the past six months, I have been very impressed by the strong sense of community spirit in North Down and the great work undertaken by our voluntary sector.
“To close, I would simply like to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.”
Mayor of Ards William Montgomery
“Christmas celebrations are at an end and our attention now turns to 2010 — a new year, with new promise and new hope.
“Some of you will be hoping to build on the great things you achieved and experienced in 2009, whether personally or professionally.
“For its part, Ards Borough Council will be striving to reduce those pressures by continuing to manage its budgets prudently and minimising the impact of any rate increases on our residents. And we will also be preparing for the upturn, supporting businesses and communities and working for the betterment of the Ards and its people. I wish you all good things in this new year — health, happiness and a peaceful and prosperous 2010.”
Rev Willis Cordner
“January is a long dark month. The afterglow of Christmas soon evaporates and the winter blues set in. The thought of the credit card statement may fill us with dread. After the unexpected ravages of the credit crunch most of us face 2010 with a degree of apprehension.
“In the darkest day at the start of World War II in 1939, King George VI concluded his Christmas broadcast with a verse from a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins. Its message is just as relevant for us today in these uncertain times.
“The poem says: ‘I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. And he replied, Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way’.”
Community worker Margaret Cameron
“Last year we had a new strategy put together for West Winds and an environmental committee was established in co-operation with the Housing Executive.
“I’m hoping that in the New Year we will see the work of this committee come to fruition with a new community garden, hanging flower baskets outside the local shops and a visual enhancement of the area.
“On top of this the local shops will hopefully be given a paint make-over as well as a general tidy-up of the surrounding vicinity.
“I would also like to send my good wishes to all those within the community who have given their time voluntarily to help make West Winds a much better place to live in.”
Community worker Karen Worrall
“I wish to see a prosperous New Year for all, to see communities engaging with each other more and statutory agencies playing a greater part in everyday life.
“I'm also hopeful for a new play park to be installed in the Rathgill Park area by the end of 2010.
“As well as this I would like to see more residents become involved in the learning and resource centre, greater community ownership within the area, and a safer environment for all residents to live and work in.
“I also want more people to engage with the youth in the area such as the provision of youth services including a summer scheme and out reach projects that can be accessed at Rathgill community house.”