Community offering support to residents

Community workers in the Bogside have said they will be on the ground over the weekend to help local residents.

Leaflets have been distributed to residents of Fahan Street, St Columb’s Wells, and Joseph Place advising local residents that support is available over the weekend, and particularly during and after the Apprentice Boys of Derry march.

In previous years, Fahan Street witnessed rioting following the march. However, last year the area saw one of the most peaceful August 12th weekends for decades when a similar scheme was in place.

Community workers said that this year’s operation will build on the success of last year.

Deborah Cross from Dove House said; “Following on from the intervention carried out during July and August last year, along with local residents and staff from community groups, we have again this year been making plans and holding meetings with relevant bodies over ensuring a peaceful weekend over the 12th to 15th of August.

“As part of Féile we have provided a packed week of events, especially concentrating on the weekend of the 12th to provide a range of positive activities not only for young people, but for the whole community to engage in,” she said.

Ms Cross said local community workers will be on hand to assist residents who are concerned about what may happen near their homes.

“We will be on the ground over the weekend and especially on Saturday 13th and we are asking residents to work with us where needed. If residents feel that they need any additional support over or during the weekend we are encouraging them to get in touch with us on the numbers we have provided them with,” she said.

One local resident, Briege Quigley from St Columb’s Wells, said it is reassuring that community workers will be on the streets to help residents.

“The community workers are great. The people at Dove House can’t do enough for us. We have all been given phone numbers to call if we are worried and it’s good to know that there are people out there to help,” she said.

Mrs Quigley also said many residents used to dread the August weekend in the past but that things have got better. “I used to be terrified by the bonfire but thankfully we didn’t have one last year. Hopefully there won’t be one this year. I’m hoping for a peaceful weekend and it’s good to know that the community workers will be there if we need them,” she said.