CALLING for greater joined up thinking up between central government departments and local government, Ballycastle SDLP councillor Dónal Cunningham said: “In areas like Moyle we need to work together to support the strengthening of social relationships and improve people’s sense of wellbeing.”
He added: “Moyle has many community and voluntary groups working across many sectors including health, recreation, sport, community development and the environment. Government needs to properly value their contribution and support their programmes of activity”
“While community programmes cannot substitute for the proper investments that are needed to transform local economies, they are helping people weather the recession, which we know is most likely to be felt for longer in marginal areas like Moyle.
“Ordinary local people need to be encouraged to protect communities from the worst impacts of impending spending cuts, I have seen at first had how the newly formed Ballycastle Community Development Group has been able to turn ‘strangers into neighbours.
“The benefits of having strong networks embedded within communities include better health outcomes, lower levels of reported crime and anti-social behaviour.
“The more we strengthen local assets - and people here are key - the more we will equip our communities to self-organise, help young people find opportunities, and bridge the vast gaps left by government spending cuts.”