North West Migrants Forum

New Super Councils have arrived, what does this mean to BME communities?

Reform of local government in Northern Ireland sees the replacement of the twenty-six districts created in 1973 with a smaller number of “super districts”. The review process began in 2002, with proposals for either seven or eleven districts made before it was suspended in 2010. On 12 March 2012, the Northern Ireland Executive published its Programme for government, which included a commitment to reduce the number of councils in Northern Ireland to 11. The new super councils formally commenced at midnight of the 1st of April 2015. Now what used to be Strabane district council merged with Derry city council to become Derry and Strabane District Council.

The new super councils have a number of new powers in areas such as planning, local roads functions, regeneration, and fostering community relations. There is no doubt that new powers come with new challenges however for BME communities across Derry and Strabane district council the challenges remain to be Racism, Hate crime, lack of representation, social isolation, alienation, racial inequalities,poverty, among others.

So what does the super councils mean to BME communities specifically in the North West?

Ongoing activities on involving BME community members and groups in helping shape Community Planning provides clear grounds for hope. The introduction of thematic working groups and efforts shown by the Community Relations department to engage with BME communities across the North West presents an opportunity for BME communities to raise issues of concern to them. Thematic working groups will help shape the content of the long-term Community Plan for this region.

In promoting the development of enhanced relationships with the new super council, the NWMF would like to encourage all members, BME community groups and individuals to actively engage with the new super council by attending a meeting organised by the Derry and Strabane District Council Community Relations officers with the new chief executive of Derry & Strabane district council on the 22nd of April 2015,( Details of this meeting, venue and time will be sent to you shortly, however it is likely that the meeting will be held in the evening from 7.00pm.) and by joining any of the following thematic working groups.

· Community Development

· Health and Well Being

· Early Intervention

· Entrepreneurship, Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness

· Education and Skills

· Tourism, Arts and Culture

· Physical Regeneration

· Infrastructure, Energy and Transport.

If you are interested in joining any of the thematic working groups please fill in the expression of interest form which can be accessed below :

EOI Form Thematic Groups

The form can also be found on the new Derry and Strabane website link shown below. If you need a copy please visit us in our office. If you require any more information in regards to the new super council and how you can get involved please visit the Derry and starbane district council website at:

www.derrycityandstrabanedistrict.com/community/communityplanning

 

Or visit us in our office and we will discuss with you further and give you more details.

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