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30 October 2011

ONE DOAGH ! Doagh Village Masterplan

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Doagh Village Masterplan was launched in the village on Thursday, 22 September 2011 and now the work begins! Two other villages, which also compiled Masterplans, were Toome and Whitehead. All three Village Masterplans were launched together in Whitehead at the end of June this year.


The group of people who formed the steering group were tasked with working alongside the consultants, The Paul Hogarth Company, and were drawn from community groups, churches, education, local business representatives, elected representatives and officers from Newtownabbey Borough Council and MLAs. The group is known as “ONE DOAGH”, a name which emanated from the mission statement outlined in the Masterplan, have now had 3 meetings and have been successful in securing funding to complete some of the proposed improvements. Most people will already have been aware of the recent improvements to the Rowan Memorial in the centre of the village and the new heritage panels placed at village landmarks of great historical interest. There are also several feasibility studies taking place at present to try to quantify costs of capital projects and also to perform a needs analysis to identify gaps in existing provision. These initiatives have been part-funded by DARD’s Rural Development Funds, administered through GROW South Antrim, the Local Action Group which serves 3 local councils; Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and Antrim. Newtownabbey Borough Council is providing the necessary match funding to allow the projects to go ahead.


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Prior to the launch the One Doagh committee evolved from the original steering group and they will attempt to “drive” the process forward to begin to meet some of the targets which emerged following the year long consultation process. These targets were identified in the Masterplan as priorities for the village. Some of these aspirations the committee felt could be realised fairly quickly and others, requiring significant funding and further consultation, would take considerably more time and negotiation. Some may not happen at all! All depends on the future co-operation and agreement of everyone with an interest in the village and its resources.


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The Masterplan, an essentially a “visionary” document, has identified many potential initiatives which would greatly enhance life in the village of Doagh. However many of these proposals can only be achieved with the full co-operation and permission of key local stakeholders. The important fact is that the whole process operates on a “bottom up” approach. It will be driven by the local Doagh Community in collaboration with Newtownabbey Borough Council. The Masterplan looks forward to village development over a period of 5 to 15 years. It is essential that the whole community engages in the process, after all it is us who benefit most from the opportunities which will be presented.


It is significant that our neighbours in Burnside have begun a similar process. They too will have a Masterplan and be identifying their own future priorities.


Potential funders are demanding that before financial backing is given to a community they should have looked at and agreed a way forward to ensure that money is wisely spent and best serves the needs of the community.


There are at present a series of local focus groups being organised to try to identify the most pressing local community needs

Details are as follows:-

Calling all Rural Communities!

Newtownabbey Borough Council is planning to develop a strategy which meets the needs of rural communities and wants to hear from YOU

The Council is seeking the views and opinions of everyone living and working in rural areas and is providing you with the opportunity to have your say on what those rural needs are.

Full Circle Management Solutions has been appointed to gather the views of local communities, and help to identify the key needs.

You are invited and encouraged to attend one of the following focus group meetings:

Monday 7 November 7pm to 8pm in Ballynure Presbyterian Church Hall

Tuesday 8 November 6.45pm to7.45pm in Torrens Memorial Hall in Doagh

Refreshments will be provided.

For further information please contact Judith McNally at Full Circle Management Solutions. Telephone: 028 90691027 e-mail: judith@fullcircle.eu.com

This project is funded by Newtownabbey Borough Council and Grow South Antrim through the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013


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Children's Hallowe'en Party, 28 October 2011

Halloween Party 11 014.JPGDoagh Village Community Association and Burnside Community Group organised their joint Hallowe'en Party on Friday, 28 September in the Torrens Memorial Hall.

Ninety youngsters, dressed up in their "finest" Hallowe'en costumes and enjoyed an evening of games, magic, dancing and food !!!

As usual members of both community groups joined together to organise the event and to provide a fun-packed programme for young people from toddlers to teenagers from both communities, as well as from the surrounding area.

This is the third year that the collaborative event has taken place and has now become a regular fixture.

In the present climate of "Village Masterplans" both communities are heavily engaged in the drawing up or implementation of their Masterplans. It has been recognised that young people are very much an integral part of the process and it is hoped that they will play an ever increasing part in the rolling out of the finished plans. All attemots will be made to consult with them over the coming months to ensure that they have a real voice in the development of resources and facilities which will hopefully enhance the quality of life and opportunities for them in the forthcoming years.

A full photographic record of the event can be found in the Hallowe'en Party 2011 Gallery.