Attwood applauds regeneration work sweeping Kilcooley
Social Development Minister Alex Attwood visited the Kilcooley Estate in Bangor last week, to see at first hand the work being done to regenerate the area.
During the visit, on Tuesday, July 20, the Minister met with local residents and community workers and heard them speak of the confidence and hopes they had for the future.
Mr Attwood said: “I would like to pay tribute to all who have worked together, at times in difficult circumstances and against the odds to improve the future prospects for the estate. I would particularly commend the Kilcooley Community Forum, the Kilcooley Women’s Centre, Bangor Alternatives and the Kilcooley Neighbourhood Partnership for their hard work and co-ordination.
“But there are issues that still need to be resolved, including the erection of paramilitary memorials. I repeat that this should be rectified and I shall press for this to happen.”
Mr Attwood continued: “I am committed, through my Department’s Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy, to make a difference to the lives of people in the most disadvantaged estates such as Kilcooley. I want to target resources in a way which has maximum impact and I want to work with communities to achieve that.
“Much of the good work in Kilcooley would not have been possible without the intervention of my Department. It has, since 2005, invested almost £4million on a range of projects brought forward through the Neighbourhood Renewal and housing improvement programmes.”
North Down DUP MLA, Alex Easton welcomed the Minister’s visit. He said: “I have no doubt that Mr Attwood left with a positive view of the area and confident of what is being achieved.
“He was lobbied on issues to do with community funding in order to facilitate the work that continues to go on in the area of Kilcooley and to see what the investment by his Department has achieved to date.
“In Kilcooley, as in many other areas of North Down, we have a purpose driven community working hard to make their areas a better place to live in. This has to be applauded.
“However there is still much work to be done as there are areas of North Down that are in need of regeneration and investment. North Down is usually referred to as the Golden Coast, but it has vast areas of social need. Many people live in great poverty and need assistance.”