“Dervock has demonstrated over the past years that it can carry a vision through to realisation.”
That’s one message to have been highlighted from a document entitled ‘Dervock Ward Vision’ which has been compiled by the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the Built Environment (MAG) who advise the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure on the implementation and development of architectural and built environmental policies.
The idea of ‘Ward Vision’ for Dervock was seen as a successor to the Village Plan concept. Following approaches by local representatives, the Ministerial Advisory Group made a resource available to assist local people in Dervock to carry out their own Ward Vision exercise.
Working over six weeks, the Vision project was advertised locally through churches, clubs etc and contacted other interested parties. Walks and drives around the area were arranged and a summary of activities was then circulated.
Further visits were then undertaken to examine opportunities - locally and further afield - looking at special interests, groups and resources. The Dervock Ward Visioning exercise began with a meeting in Dervock Community Centre on February 27th this year and progressed for the next six weeks.
The Vision was presented during the Showcase Fair Day in Dervock Community Centre in March. The presentation was designed to celebrate the tradition of fairs in the Dervock area.
The final Vision report sets out 33 action points to develop the area.
The report said: “Dervock is one of 40 wards in Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Dervock has talents that are clearly expressed through shared passions for the history of people and places, music, stories, sports and a well defined community infrastructure that has achieved much already over the past two decades.
“There is clear evidence that Dervock provides opportunities for investment. With champion sports people in the Ward over generations, including an Olympic Gold marathon runner in 1912 (Kennedy Kane McArthur), the sporting prowess of the young people is being recognised and could become an important generator of commercial success.
“Dervock uses its streets, indoor and outdoor spaces very well already - from an annual March parade commemorating submariners to pride in the famous Trafalgar Windows and the well tended gardens of Benvarden - there is a vital local energey that helps to keep Dervock and district lively throughout the year.
“Dervock Ward is unique in the Council area in being the location of the ancestral home of a president of the USA. President William McKinley’s great great grandfather, James McKinley, was a Scottish soldier and a scout whose work in the ward and surrounding area was to find routes across the boggy lands. George Macartney, the first Earl Macartney, was a hugely distinguished international ambassador and Britain’s first envoy to China in 1793. He was a major benefactor of Dervock, providing many substantial new buildings in his time. He deserves to be commemorated regularly, both at the fountain built in his memory and in forging stronger links with China and her people.
“Historic links with a US President and with Britain’s first envoy to China have to be developed into a modern linkage that celebrates and brings together these remarkable associations.
“The opportunities are significant for regular international connections in relation to all three big personalities of Dervock Ward history. Preliminary work having been developed through social media, it is time to invite people and invest time in to highlight Dervock’s international connections - all of which are authentic and unique.”
The report continues: “Dervock has demonstrated over the past years that it can carry a vision through to realisation.
“The future of this Ward is the future of the people here.
“It will not be dictated by anyone else, but it can be assisted and promoted by many people within and beyond the Ward.”
The Ward Vision was written and edited collaboratively with a range of participants who gave generously of their time and expertise on several occasions during the six weeks of work.