Major new anti-graffiti project to be rolled out

One of the walls in the Bogside area where graffiti was removed. (14MM06)

One of the walls in the Bogside area where graffiti was removed. (14MM06)

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A major new anti-graffiti project is currently being rolled out across the Bogside, Brandywell and Creggan areas of the city.

The Tús Maith/Fresh Start programme is being carried out by the Triax Neighbourhood Management Team (TNMT) and is designed to improve the quality of life for local residents.

Graffiti has already been removed from gable walls, alleyways and other locations across the area in recent weeks.

Programme co-ordinator Colm Barton said the project, which is supported by the Department of Social Development, is changing attitudes to graffiti in the area.

“For the past four years the TNMT has been steadily working to remove graffiti of all types across the area,” he said.

“We do not discriminate or judge any graffiti, rather we would encourage anyone with a message they want to articulate to do so in a manner that is respectful of the local community. Over the years we have been very successful in encouraging groups and individuals to produce posters and murals and have witnessed a significant decline in the amount of graffiti in the Triax area.

“Of course, there will probably never be a time when there is absolutely no graffiti but that won’t stop us aspiring to that goal,” he added.

The community worker also said the consistent removal of graffiti helps reduce instances of the problem in the long term.

“The vast majority of residents have consistently identified graffiti as a major problem in the local area and it is from these residents that we draw our inspiration.

“Even the most cynical of residents, who have offered the view that our removal of graffiti is only providing a blank canvass for new graffiti, have come to the realisation that by removing graffiti in a consistent and systematic manner, we are reducing the amount of graffiti and its frequency.

“Residents are also now much less tolerant of graffiti and are increasing approaching the TNMT to remove it as soon as it appears,” he added.

One elderly Bogside resident, who asked not to be named, welcomed the success of the initiative and said it has made a big difference to the area.

“You can really see the difference locally. It used to be every wall was covered in all sorts and people had just given up trying to do anything about it.

“Now, if any stuff appears people are talking about it and the people in the Gasyard have it off straight away. The place is looking better for it,” he said.

Mr Barton said the project also involves identifying positive, community-based projects to replace graffiti. “As well as removing graffiti we are also working with residents and groups to produce positive murals and work that enhances the appearance of the area.

“Some of this work is coming together in the next weeks and we are confident residents will see and appreciate the difference.

“Of course, if residents do have graffiti in their area, I would ask them to contact the TNMT at either the Gasyard on 02871 261916 or the Corn Beef Tin on 02871 281900,” he said.