Winner: Lower Oldpark, Belfast

Summary
Since 1972, Lower Oldpark Community Association (LOCA) enabled the community to tackle the many local problems, including dereliction, lack of investment, social unrest, lack of community spirit and educational underachievement. Recently LOCA has driven the physical renewal of the area, including the refurbishment of 26 long term vacant and decaying properties and the development of seven new build social homes. Current projects include plans for affordable homes, retail facilities and the upgrading of the local environment. Situated at an interface location, LOCA works substantially on a cross-community basis to reduce conflict and tension with neighbouring communities. LOCA gives residents an opportunity to contribute to a process of positive change in their area. The Association has worked with residents to provide services in response to these problems, through the provision of a playgroup and an afterschools club, women’s group and youth provision. These services enable lifelong learning and contribute to building community spirit.

Community Contact: Janice Beggs locacentre@hotmail.co.uk

Citation

As an interface area, this community was confronted with many challenges since the Good Friday Agreement; including dereliction, lack of investment, social unrest and educational underachievement. The commitment, determination and hard work of this community to work with residents to provide services through the provision of after-schools club, women’s group and youth provision has laid the foundation for lifelong learning and contributed to building community spirit and self-reliance. The improvements brought to the lives of those living in this community greatly impressed the judges.

Runner Up: The Courts, Ballymun, Dublin City