Belfast Telegraph

Ford opens new office aimed at helping offenders

By Brendan McDaid

Justisce Minister David Ford has officially launched a new north west facility in Londonderry aimed at reducing the number of young people getting involved in criminal activity.

The minister joined Mayor of Derry Kevin Campbell to open the local office of the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Niacro) at Queen Street.

Niacro was set up to help youths at risk of becoming involved in crime and with those leaving prison or detention centres to help them rebuild their lives.

Niacro’s corporate plan to 2015 was also unveiled at the event.

Its chief executive Olwen Lyner welcomed local employers and community groups, and representatives from the Department of Justice, Probation Board, Department for Employment and Learning and Northern Ireland Prison Service to the opening.

She said: “Niacro has a long history of working across Northern Ireland to reduce crime and its impact on people and communities, and we have established strong relationships with people and communities in the north west in delivering our services.

“Our corporate plan sets out our vision for the next three years, which includes developing closer links with communities to enable them to deal more effectively with crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Mr Ford (right) said people from across statutory, voluntary and community sectors in the north west were working together for real change to people’s lives.

“From the employers who work with the Jobtrack programme to assist people in re-settling into the community, to the volunteers who work with the Family Links team to support people who have a loved one in custody, Niacro has established strong links across the north west and I am happy to re-iterate the Department of Justice’s commitment to supporting their work.”

He added: “There will be many challenges to face as we deliver reform of the Prison Service, and work through the current economic downturn, but I’m confident that the sharing of resources, experiences and values will deliver the best outcomes for people across Northern Ireland.”

Mayor Kevin Campbell said: “I am delighted that the new facilities in Queen Street will enable both workers and volunteers alike to continue to offer their services, in line with their newly launched Corporate Plan to those most marginalised in society, and in doing so provide the steadfast improvements in community engagement they are committed to for the greater good of this city and beyond.”

Mr Ford also visited Malvern House in the Waterside area to discuss community sentencing.

Belfast Telegraph


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